Divide Your Group
As I facilitate experiential education or group discussions, I like to divide any group that is larger than seven people into smaller groups. This makes it easier for quieter people to be heard. If I’m with a group for more than an hour or so, I mix the groups up so everyone gets to know each other better. I’ve experimented with some different ways to divide large groups lately; here are some of the methods I use.
At customer service training I am doing for the Iowa Community Action Association, I’ve been using the Chinese Zodiac. I made up nametags with the pictures of the twelve Zodiac animals–
Then I made pages with the corresponding pictures, descriptions and years of birth for each sign. I put these on the tables, automatically dividing the group as they arrive. I have small groups form by combining different signs. Here is a Web site that tells you which signs go together best; you could base another grouping on those recommendations.
Here are some other quick ideas for forming small groups randomly–
- Have the girls line up by one of these methods; then divide the line into the size or number of groups you want– (Shoe size, Height, Birthday)
- Divide by eye color, kinds of shoes or shirt color
- Divide by month of birth or season of birth–
(Winter = December, January, February, Spring = March, April, May, Summer = June, July, August, Fall = September, October, November)
- Play the game Mingle Mingle, ending with the number you want in your small groups.
Michelle Cummings of Training Wheels has published a book–Playing With a Full Deck–that has lots of ideas for activities for groups that only use card games. Download Dividing a Group for a taste.