My Year 8s have really responded well to a variety of activities in “station” format. They work on something for 10-15 minutes, then change. The groups are about 4 students in number, and the activities are usually: textbook questions; a graphic exercise; crossword; podcast; and a computer-related activity…all about a particular theme within the Medieval History umbrella.
One student commented today that there had been “no fights” in class today. He went to explicitly say that it was because of the way I had structured the class. Another student on his table interjected to say that “we work better in groups”. I don’t think that groups are everything, but structured and varied activities are the key I think.
The first student said that if we had been trying to do a whole-class activity, there would have been fights. It’s also true that 95% of students are doing the work, instead of 60%. I was tearing my hair out a couple of weeks ago, because the double periods with this class are hell…this seems to have both calmed and motivated them.