Name Table Groups for Educational Concepts

Many teachers seat students in table groups.  These groups can be Teams, Tribes, Learning Communities, or whatever your school calls them.

Some educators advocate getting student buy-in by having students name their groups.  There are a few reasons I’m not nuts about this approach:

  1. It takes forever.
  2. It’s not educational.
  3. Kids come up with silly names that aren’t catchy or are just plain dumb.
  4. Kids argue.  A lot.  How exactly was this teambuilding, again?
  5. The kids who don’t get their way hate the new team name.

Instead, I name the teams myself using educational themes.   I might pick a bunch of math vocabulary words, Greek gods, key words for our Social Studies unit, parts of speech (Go, Adverbs!)…you get the idea.

Some of my coolest team names came about because I like to have seven tables in my classroom—it just fits well, and there are so many things that come in sevens.

  1. Seven continents
  2. Seven Wonders of the World (various lists)
  3. Seven notes (Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do—we did this when we performed the song in our school talent show)
  4. Seven colors—Roy G. Biv. (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet)
  5. The Seven Dwarfs come to mind, but parents might complain about their child being in the Dopey group.  Even though the kids love it and everyone wishes they were Dopey.  Seriously—one year I organized math teams and asked the kids if they’d like to be the Seven Dwarfs.  The rule was that the Dopey kids had to be volunteers.  Everyone wanted to be Dopey and we had to draw straws.  No one complained, but it could have happened!
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Posted in Classroom Management,First Year Teachers by Corey Green @ Sep 23, 2011


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