My Experience with Grouping
In all reality I have 5 groups for both math and reading.
YES, they are ability leveled!
In my over 30 years of teaching we have a BLAST in our groups or "teams" as we call them and I don't think any student feels bad or like they are in the high or low group.
Let's face it. Most students know where they are ability wise. Their main concern is feeling SUCCESSFUL!
I DO NOT name my "teams" but have a picture of each student in their team posted on a pocket chart in the classroom.
I take a picture of each student and mount it on a square of colored paper.
These are posted on a regular pocket chart.
Each week the group has a different CAPTAIN who makes sure the centers are cleaned up after they finish and when I call the group up I say "?'s" team.
They love their peers AND they LOVE meeting with me as a group.
They are comfortable, we do activities that support skills and strategies they need work with, and bottom line THEY MAKE PROGRESS.
(even value added)
The math groups and reading groups do tend to differ. It is interesting. Some of my mid level readers are top level problem solvers. Some students also move up and down depending on their speed of progress.
So during math and reading rotations the students pretty much work through these rotations with their GROUP...
BUT during the rest of our experiences during the day and in our seating groups we are ALL OVER THE MAP!!
I like to think of the rest of my day as FLEXIBLE GROUPING.
We partner up for games.
We group up for making words.
We interact while collecting data.
We consult with peers while completing graphic organizers.
We work in groups for research.
I do ability group for math and reading.