Group Work in a Socially-Distanced OR in an Online Classroom

  • This strategy is a means of kick-starting a student’s imagination and compels students to provide a variety of options or ideas.

Key Skills

  • Managing myself

  • Managing information and thinking

  • Working with others

  • Communicating

Required Resources

In the Classroom setting

  • Google Classroom accounts

  • Teacher PC / Laptop

  • Student Chromebooks / tablets.

  • Projector

  • Students: Mobile phones, tablets or chrome book.

Online Teaching & Learning

  • Google Classroom accounts

  • GoogleMeet set-up

  • Teacher PC / Laptop

  • Student Chromebooks / tablets.

  • Projector

  • Students: Mobile phones, tablets or chrome book.

The Technology: Break-out Rooms in Google Meet

Group Work: Presentation

Organising & Assigning Group Roles

Group Work - Learning From Home

  • Groups could be selected in class or online by the teacher.

  • Google Classroom Breakout rooms for example, can be used to assign groups online.

      • Roles assigned to individuals in each group to include:

      • Manager, Recorder, Timekeeper, Speaker.

  • Teacher moves between individual groups to observe and guide discussion. (In a teaching-at-home scenario moderation of each break-out group is essential. This facility is also available online).

  • Upon completion of task, the entire group link in with teacher via larger online group call for full class discussion.

  • The presenter / speaker from each team shares their groups findings.

  • Tools such as symbols/emojis/chat which are features shared by most online platforms, are useful for the purpose of discussion.

  • It is important that students receive clear communication about the purpose of the groupwork task.

  • This is particularly important in the socially distanced/remote classroom where the aim is to socially engage learners toward self-directed learning.

Group Work in a Socially Distanced Classroom

Define each role clearly to the whole class. Highlight that all students primary role is active participant in the group.

The following are four roles commonly used to improve the organisation of group work:

  • Manager – direct the discussion to include everyone

  • Recorder – makes notes

  • Speaker – reports back to the class

  • Timekeeper – keeps the group informed of the time as directed by the teacher.

Cue cards with raised hand, question, comment could be used in the physically distanced classroom.

Junior Cycle for Teachers Resource - Assigning Group Roles

Assigning Group Roles.mp4

Points to Note / Alternative Approaches.

  • Students working together in groups can generate lots of ideas.

  • Ensure all students get an equal opportunity to share.

  • Brainstorming could be used as a stimulus for creative or functional writing, vocabulary development on a topic in languages or for relevance of a scientific discovery in our lives etc.

Alternative Approaches.

  • Test your students’ knowledge, gather feedback and ask them to reflect

  • Get each group to record their thoughts on a shared Google Doc or Google Slides

  • Use Google Slides as a PlaceMat activity

  • Group recorder could record the group ideas through Mentimeter or on a Padlet wall.

An alternative online approach could be to use mind-mapping technologies such as SImpleMind or Coggle. Each student produces their own Coggle / SimpleMind. They can either share through Google Classroom or present & talk about their mindmap using the "Present" function on GoogleMeet.

• Another alternative might be to use a shared GoogleDoc preformatted with a placemat between four students.


  • Students communicate with one another.

  • Peer Assessment - They evaluate their own and other students’ responses to the task.

  • Students develop their own ideas by listening to others and offering their opinions

  • Feedback: from teacher and peer throughout the task, oral and/or written

  • Reflection

Teacher Resources for Group Work Activities.

KWL Chart.pdf
Conflict Map.pdf