I had the opportunity to attend a staff development meeting on Thursday December 9th at Nicollet Junior High. The topic of the meeting was differentiation. There are a group of teachers designated to present topics at these meetings to educate the other teachers. They have been having a series of meetings on the different facets of differentiation and the one I attended was about grouping. In the meeting I learned that there are 3 different types of groups. Informal groups just meet for a few minutes possibly at the beginning or end of class to do a quick check in. Formal groups meet for longer periods of time; they could possibly work together for a class period or even a few class periods. The third kind of group is a base group. Base groups are long term groups that meet sometimes for a whole year to work together. I also learned that there are 3 main ways to group students. You can group students by readiness. This would mean analyzing how ready a student is to take on the task and group them with students in such a way that all the students can be successful. You could also group students based on interests, this is especially successful if you need them to work together to come up with an idea for a project. The final way to group students is based on their learning profile. Grouping by learning profile would be very helpful if students are expected to work together to fill out a study guide or study for a test. The final thing I took away from the meeting was a quote. It read, "Purposefully group students based on likeness rather than difference." I found this to be very insightful, because often we think we should group students with differences together so that they can help each other. This is not a bad idea but I now realize the benefits of grouping on likeness also.