I love grouping my French students for games, speaking activities or quick-shares, but I also want everyone working and all students to be included. Does that happen when students pick their own partners? Not always! So, in my class, I use student grouping cards in French class ALL THE TIME!
They are great for randomly forming groups of 2, 3, 4, or 5 and I use them to introduce vocabulary and culture without direct instruction.
Here is how I use these student grouping cards:
To help students learn vocabulary, I use these cards with images. There are different vocabulary topics depending on whether you want to pair students up or put them in groups of 2, 3, o4 5.
Sometimes, I want to focus on an aspect of francophone culture, so instead of using the cards with images, I use these cards with words-only. There are places in Paris, French speaking countries, French châteaux, and French cities.
It’s really easy to extend the learning for a quick five-minute introduction to culture by pulling choosing one place and pulling up a few images to show students. Students also love it when I project the place using either Google Earth or Google Maps to let them really get a close look!
How do I use these cards in my French class?
I use them on the first day of school to assign my seating chart! Before the first day, I laminate and then tape one of the pairs cards on the corner of each desk. I greet all students at my door on the first day. Then, I hand them a card that is a match for a pair taped onto a desk. They enter, find their seat, and voilà ! My seating chart is done. As I collect the cards, I have each student introduce him/herself and I fill in my paper copy.
Then, I’ll use the different sets of cards all throughout the year to randomly assign groups in my class anytime we do French speaking activities, skits, or any kind of partner or group work. It’s such a time-saver!
Why use grouping cards in your class?
1. Not all students get excited about working in groups. Sometimes, introverted students get stressed at having to find a partner, so each time you say, “Find a partner and work on this activity,” they start the activity already stressed. It will help them settle more quickly into an activity if they aren’t forced to find a group to work with.
2. It will help you randomly match up students to ensure that students are not always working in the same groups.
3. Grouping students helps alleviate classroom management struggles. You don’t have a bunch of students up and running around looking for a group. It’s a huge time-saver for you once students get used to using the cards and forming groups.
4. It’s a great way to introduce new vocabulary and culture without expressly teaching anything.
5. Students in random groups won’t feel like they have been grouped by ability. It helps all students feel like a valuable group member.