Flexible groupings are probably one of the easiest ways to begin intiating differentiated instructional strategies in a classroom. The question is, what does it look like, how do you organize it and how does it work. I don't think it looks the same in any two classrooms. As with anything, it has to work for you.
In my class, there are pocket charts (I love, love, love those little $1.00 Target pocket charts), laminated magnetic cards and even MORE pocket charts to indicate different cooperative groupings.
|Literacy Groups Based on Readiness, Learning Profiles and Cooperation|
|Math Stations Grouped by Readiness and Learning Profiles|
|Calendar Partners Grouped By Interest and Cooperative Learning Profiles|
Calendar partners are changed every month. We utlize calendar books and I found that by having students work in partners, they are able to help eachother out rather than walking around myself and checking every child for understanding. Partners are determined based on interest and cooperative learning profiles.
|Learning Center Groups Based on Multiple Intelligences and Learning Profiles|
Learning Centers have students in groups of three. These groups change about every two weeks and are based on learning profiles, interests and multiple intelligences. Although about half of these stations are tiered, the groupings for these stations are NOT based on readiness.
The goal of flexible grouping is to provide lots of different kinds of opportunites for students to work in meaningful ways with other students who are not necessarily like themselves. I, myself, can't imagine my groupings working any other way, but I would love to hear what other teachers do. I'm always looking for new ways to organize and streamline my groups. Drop me a comment to let me know if you're 'flexible.'