I reclaimed some wall space from other things this year so I could put up pocket charts for flexible grouping in my classroom. I want to be much more deliberate with my grouping this year. I am hoping to get at least one or two STEM PBL experiences in for my kids and I know I will need to engineer those groups so the students can be successful.
This isn't much to see yet because the class lists are far from finalized, so I haven't made name tags. I got the pocket charts from the target dollar bin and the magnetic hooks are 88 cents for four in Walmart's back to school section. Total cost is under $9 including a pack of index cards. Each color will be for one of my block classes. I haven't decided if I'm going to hang one up for my intervention period or not. We'll see.
I am trying to decide what information I want (if any) on the back of the cards. I could use state test data, but that doesn't tell me the whole picture. What sorts of things do you look at as you group students early in the year? Leave me a comment and let me know what works for you.
EDIT 9/26/12: After one month of school, I can say this system is truly working well for my classes. In addition to helping students find their groups more easily, it's eliminated the poor attitudes some students choose to display when presented with an assigned group.
I also appreciate that I can look back at the end of the day and review which students were grouped together for a particular activity.
I've also added labels for group jobs. The jobs are things like timekeeper, materials manager, sharing supervisor, etc. I'll just place the cards above the chart and say that the first person in the group is timekeeper, the second is materials manager, etc.
I just found more of these pocket charts at Goodwill for 10 cents so I got the purple ones to replace the red which didn't go with my color code (first period gets everything pink/purple, fifth gets all green, seventh gets all blue, and intervention gets red).