Working in a group requires important skill. These skills are not always innate, they must be taught. Taking the time to facilitate proper groups will help your year role smoothly and successfully.
I like to keep groups of 5 or fewer students. I rather have a group of 4 than 6 so I will make more groups instead of more kids within a group. Every student should have a role within the group. Each role has a responsibility. Emphasis the responsibility. Make sure only that student does their job. For example, the Reader cannot get the supplies, that is the job of the Retriever.
Model appropriate group responsibilities to all kids before you release students into their groups. Once students are working, call out individuals doing a good job in their role and explain to the class what they are doing well. -“Stephen, thank you for reading the directions loud and clear, you are doing an excellent job as the READER.” “Millie, I like how you walked to get the supplies for your group. Thank you for being a great RETRIEVER.” Do not call out behavior you do not want to see instead call out appropriate behavior. “Jacob you are using nice handwriting, the WRITER should use nice handwriting so everyone can read what was written.”
Switch roles every time they start a new group project so all students can have an opportunity in each role. Laminate and write names with dry erase so you can keep the cards all year. Print at least 5 times so I can have 25 cards on-hand.
Remember group projects can be fun!