SIP 5.10 Easy NFL Grouping

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

Coming up with creative and pedagogically sound methods of grouping students for collaborative learning projects can become tiresome by the end of the semester. And when left up to students, we find groups that are comprised of the same classmates time and again. So, how can we create pedagogically-sound, diverse and flexible groups, in a singled effort?

Take a SIP of This: Easy NFL Grouping

Here is an easy way to set up groups just once, yet have options for dividing  your class into pairs, or groups of  two, four, or eight,, that is also fun. Use it in the fall semester to get into the mood for football season! If you are not into football or it is not fall, you can still use the terminology or change it to fit your discipline or favorite sport.


  • Create an Easy NFL Grouping template similar to the one shown below.


  • Write the name of each of your students in the list below and tell them which conference, division, team, and jersey number they have been assigned.
  • Tell the students that they are dividing by “Conference” if you want your whole class to divide into two. This template is currently arranged for a class of 32 students, so dividing by conference will give you two groups of 16.
  • Use “Division” to divide the class into four groups of eight students each.
  • Divide by “Team” for eight groups of four students each.
  • Have students group by jersey number if you want them in pairs.

Things to Consider

  • Inevitably, this system is not perfect because classes are typically larger or smaller than 32 students, but it can be adjusted by adding one row per team and renumbering the jerseys. To renumber the jerseys, take out all of the jersey numbers larger than the row in which you made changes and begin renumbering from the lowest number that still exists to the highest you will have in the new setup.
  • Consider waiting to make your “roster” until the second or third week of the semester to accommodate students who may add or drop your class.

Still Thirsty? Take Another SIP of: Easy NFL Grouping

  • Fun Ways to Group Students is a list of fun and appropriate ways to quickly group students in the higher education classroom. An added bonus is that many of the ideas get students up and meeting each other as well.
  • Creative Ways to Form Groups includes 10 strategies by Barbi Honeycutt for grouping adults who are participating in professional training. The list includes ways to group students that can link with your instruction.
  • 10 Surefire Ways to Divide Into Groups includes a couple of ideas for using grouping as an introduction, or “hook”, for your instruction.

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.