How to form heterogeneous groups in a non-heterogeneous clas

Questions or discussion about Kagan theory, research, or implementing Kagan in your classroom.
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:47 am

How to form heterogeneous groups in a non-heterogeneous clas

Post by TaTonka » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:26 am

Not enough characters allowed in the subject line to add the last "S" to class...sigh.

In short. Team-taught High School Biology class with 27 kids. 12 on my caseload (I am the SpEd teacher of the pair) have IEPs. 2 more IEPs on the GenEd teacher's list. 2 with 504 plans that look more like IEPs. of the remaining 11 kids, not many could be said to be strong students because most of the strongest students in our school are siphoned off into the Honors and IB curriculum. In addition to that there is one boy in the class who is a known sexual offender and so seating him with girls can be risky.


Most of these kids come from the same neighborhood and have known each other for many years. They have many classes together and so by the time they get to us, they have both longstanding history and recent conflicts from earlier in the day that they bring into the classroom.


How the heck to I form heterogeneous groups out of this?

Jackie Minor
Posts: 273
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:58 am

Re: How to form heterogeneous groups in a non-heterogeneous

Post by Jackie Minor » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:01 pm

Well, it sounds like you have your work cut out for you! I will do my best to give you some suggestions. I am just going to "think outloud" for you and hopefully something I offer will be helpful! First, although you don't have a wide range of abilities, I still think I would try to rank order them from highest to lowest - knowing you will have some that are close together in abilities. Then, divide that in to four levels so you have your high, high medium, low medium and low. Although it might not be perfect, it is a starting point. When grouping them in the levels, make sure and take into account their "current" performance even if test scores say something different. Then, when placing them in teams, it is probably best at that point to look at personalities next. Just separate kids who don't get a long - especially at first. Obviously with the student who is the offender, you want to careful who you partner him with. I often find these kids are "okay" when they are in a classroom with their peers - maybe he goes in an all boy team? I think you just have to jump in and get started and then give yourself permission to adjust as needed since your situation is so unique. Don't forget your classbuilding and teambuildng. HOwever, I would recommend letting the kids develop the questions to use (like in a Timed RoundRobin). This will give them more ownership for the questions and they might be more likely to participate. Give all of this a try and keep us posted! Jackie

Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:29 pm

Re: How to form heterogeneous groups in a non-heterogeneous

Post by melissasw » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:13 pm

I concur with where Jackie told you to start. Let me share two perspectives, one from being a teacher of the lower functioning students. Like Jackie suggested I ranked them; low (H), low-low (HM), low-low-low(LM), and low-low-low-low (L). Even within the lower functioning students I still had a range and it truly made a difference to arrange them heterogeneously in teams.

Now from my other perspective. I am the mother of a special needs student, one who has had an IEP from the time he was 2 1/2 years old. Unfortunately, he did not get to experience Kagan during his elementary or middle school years. He had a few teachers who used it in high school, especially ones that knew I was a trainer and invited me into their classrooms to model, coach and support them. Those that used it effectively in their classrooms had a significant effect on my son's attitude, self-esteem, and engagement. I always wonder how different he would be if he had had the opportunity to be in a Kagan classroom. Would he be the angry young man that he is today, one that does not express his ideas/thoughts/or opinions freely for fear of being ridiculed due to his speech impediment? I highly doubt it....because he would have been in a classroom where he felt safe, one that built his self esteem rather than threw bricks at it. He would not have been able to hide, and his ideas/thoughts/opinions would have been valued. My best advice is to invest in the classbuilding/teambuilding with fun questions to build that will to work together and create that classroom community of learners....create that safe environment for sharing, especially for your special students. I'm so glad to see you have a vested interested in making Kagan work for your students. I applaud your efforts! Thank you!
If you have any questions on implementation with your IEP students, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Melissa Wincel

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:42 pm

Re: How to form heterogeneous groups in a non-heterogeneous

Post by Butterville1987 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:48 pm

Hello- I am very interested in learning more about the reasoning behind heterogeneous grouping, particularly the H, MH< ML and L method- can I be directed to Kagen's resource or article regarding this topic? Thanks for anyone's help! :)

Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:59 pm

Re: How to form heterogeneous groups in a non-heterogeneous

Post by rachel.treaster » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:37 pm

Our website has great resources for you with Dr. Kagan's research and articles. Dr. Kagan's Cooperative Learning book chapter 7 also has great information. Another resource you can find information on heterogeneously grouped teams can be found in the cooperative learning chapter of Robert Marzano's book Classroom Instruction that Works. I hope you find this helpful.