Often there is a misunderstanding among some teachers (no one here of course) that if they have students in groups, they are utilizing flexible groupings. This is not necessarily accurate. In fact, there are many teachers (none here of course) that are under the impression that the goal of flexible groupings is to make instruction easier for teachers by grouping students strictly by ability.
|Math Stations Grouped by Readiness and Learning Styles|
|Calendar Partners Grouped By Interest and Cooperative Learning Styles|
Calendar partners are changed every month. We utilize calendar books and I found that by having students work in partners, they are able to help each other out rather than walking around myself and checking every child for understanding. Partners are determined based on interest and cooperative learning styles.
|Learning Center Groups Based on Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles|
Learning Centers have students in groups of three. These groups change about every two weeks and are based on learning styles 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 opportunities 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.'