Classroom group activities can be boring enough to put students to sleep. So, how can you make them so engaging that students are sad to see them end? You make the topic interesting and focus on students’ being active participants and involving everyone in the process. Ensure everyone is active, either by sharing or thinking.
We questioned some of our teachers and here are five of their favourite group activities.
1. Decipher the Lyrics
Print out and cut up popular song lyrics into small sections or individual words. Divide students into teams. Then play the song, teams then race to place the lyrics in the correct order. Ideal for language acquisition and a fun way to engage students
2. Rapid Fire
Prepare some discussion questions and give students a time limit, 30 seconds for example. Students can then either answer or pass as you ask the questions rapidly. Throw in the odd “And here’s your next question. Brace yourself.” Questions are then asked the groups, and you randomly choose a student to answer. This is only good for about 10 minutes as students’ attention tend to wander if any longer.
3. Heads Up
Use post-it notes or alike and write famous people or objects on them, you can even use words associated with a current classroom topic or theme. Each student, without looking, sticks it to his or her forehead.
Students then ask closed questions that have “yes” or “no” answers to try and work out what is on their card.
4. What’s Your Answer
This technique involves everybody at the same time. You form small groups of three and ask a question; groups then get an allotted time to discuss and come up with an answer. Complex questions work best with this method, so allow enough time for groups to develop their answer fully. You can extend the session time by engaging more students in the discussion. When the group answers their question, ask students if they agree or disagree with that answer.
5. Writing Aloud
Using small groups, ask each group to choose three words randomly from a bag, they must use their selected words to write a story. You can assign specifics to how much dialogue to include and how many characters to include.
When finished, groups take turns reading stories aloud; listening students then feedback on their classmates’ work.
We are sure every reader has used these techniques or have some great ones of your own. We would love it if you shared with us any tips and tricks you have for group activities as group work benefits all students and you, the teacher, too. It helps you provide meaningful and authentic lessons that engage and help your students as group work allows different types of learners to be successful.