Mixed Group Types is the Way-To-Go

Keep students in multiple groups - plan units with that start with pairs or threes self chosen for a main activity and then mix class time with others, such as 

Pairs and Threes
- start with self choosen for a larger project, series of labs or a series of challanges

Combined Groups
- combine groups to offer feedback and suggestions

Assigned Partners
- pairs where a stronger student can work with a student needing help doing a single or multiple tasks, daily tasks, reading/note taking

Numbered Groups 
assigned, large or small, designed to mix groups around for: feedback and suggestions or sharing of knowledge

small groups compete in challanges, stronger teams can self manage, struggling teams can receive coaching from teacher

students work in roles with different requirements, can be self chosen or assigned 

Class wide discussions can happen at any point, and start and end of class will always have class wide time.

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Since teachers college I have been plagued with some endless debates - neither side could prove conclusively which was the Way-To-Go. One of these was around descsions for group types - student selected or assigned, mixed or stratified?

Mixing the groups always seemed like an obvious hybrid and one that I didn't seem to have time for in my short amound of teaching experience. But this year I have been using this and I think it has been a good success, so far - not quite two months in.

Learning can fit in my different activities and mixed groups always for different modes. Team work can bring about a real learning incentive and all group work features student-to-student direct learning and helping.