Collaborative Learning: Student Groupings Made Simple

how to create student pairs

How many times have you taught a lesson where students need to form a group or pair up with one another and you hold your breath because you just aren't sure how this is going to work? Usually students pair up with their bestie, don't even move from their seat, or argue with one another. As a student, my stomach would drop when my teacher would say, "Find a partner." Can you relate? In this  post, you will learn why student groupings are important, a few easy and effective ways to make student groupings, and ways to use student groupings to enhance the learning in your classroom.


1. Diverse Perspectives: Partnering or grouping students diversifies the range of perspectives that contribute to discussions and problem-solving. This exposure to different viewpoints allows students to learn from one another's unique insights.

2. Collaborative Skills: Collaboration is a skill that extends far beyond the classroom. By working together on tasks and activities, students develop essential skills like communication, compromise, and teamwork that are invaluable in their future.

3. Peer Teaching: When students collaborate, they often teach each other in informal ways. This strengthens their understanding of the material as they explain concepts to their peers, reinforcing their own learning while building confidence.

4. Increased Engagement: Collaborative activities break the monotony of traditional teaching methods. Students become more engaged as they actively participate, share ideas, and contribute to their peers' learning experiences.

5. Sense of Belonging: Partnering or grouping students creates a supportive environment where they can connect with their peers. This sense of belonging enhances their overall well-being and encourages them to express their thoughts and opinions without fear.


1. Group students randomly.

2. Pair students who have things in common, but may not realize it yet.

3. Combine students who have mastered concepts with students who are still struggling.

4. Pair a patient student with student with behavior concerns.

5. Pair struggling students together to practice reading or math fluency.


Using partner cards or student grouping cards is the perfect way to eliminate the chaos when creating collaborative groups. You can pre-plan groups OR you can randomly hand out picture cards and have them find their partner or group.

student grouping cards

1. Pre-planned Groups: To use this strategy, make a list and hand out one of the picture cards to each pair or group of students. It appears "random" to the students, but you have strategically grouped them!

2. Random Groups: Looking for something less structured? Randomly hand out a picture card to each student and watch them pair up. This method allow students to work together who may not normally choose one another, yields itself to collaboration, and provides structure when grouping students. 

Student Grouping Cards

These picture grouping cards are perfect to create pairs, groups of 3, 4, 5, or 6 students. Each card has a large picture, written word, and small picture of the pairings and comes with answer posters. These cards can be laminated and/or glued onto popsicle sticks to make it easy for students to hold. All of these tools are part of the Student Grouping Cards resource.

Incorporating student partnerships and groups into your classroom doesn't have to be complicated. Collaboration is a crucial life skill and as educators it is our job to help our students learn the skills to do it successfully. I hope these tips and tricks help you to effectively utilize groupings in a meaningful way into your classroom. 


No comments:

Post a Comment