If your students are seated in cooperative learning groups for most of the day, it’s helpful to implement team table management strategies. For the purposes of this post, I’ll refer to each physical group of students as a “team table.” Some of your teams may actually be seated at tables, but more than likely they’re desks have been grouped together to form a makeshift table. If you’re not sure how to group them, check out my seating arrangement suggestions after reading this post.
Team Tubs are plastic containers (about the size of a shoebox) that are kept in the center of each team. Each team tub has 4 scissors, 1 bottle of glue, 4 calculators, 4 rulers, 1 box of crayons, 1 film canister of dried beans (for manipulatives), and small erasers and chalk for the individual chalkboards. If you don’t have room in the middle of each team, you can number the Team Tubs and store them on a shelf. It really keeps you from having to pass materials out all day long. You can number the items with the number of the team tub.
It’s helpful to designate a Team Captain each day. This person is in charge of all the materials in the Team Tub. They also get materials for activities, clean desks after messy activities, collect papers, etc. Since I have the students numbered off anyway, I just have a certain captain for each day of the week. Person #1 is always captain on Monday, Person #2 on Tuesday, and so on. If we have a full 5-day week, I just spin a spinner to see who will be captain on Friday. The Team Captain also writes down assignments for team members who are absent.
I put a small incentive chart in the middle of each Team Tub lid. When the team is especially cooperative, I put a sticker on the chart. When they earn all 16 stickers they each get a coupon that they can cash in for a special privilege (take home the class pet, go help out with our first grade buddy class, have extra computer time, etc.) You can use the stickers to reward anything like attendance, getting homework done, having good behavior all week, etc.