*"Although this is not
an activity, there has been much talk about methods used to split a class
into teams or groups. Recently, a young student wrote to "Dear Abby" about
the fact that his P.E. teacher picked captains, who then chose students
for teams. This, of course, is an outdated system. Young people can be
very hurt by always being the last to be picked, and the "good" athletes
are put in a superior position by either being chosen as a captain, or
by being one of the first to be chosed for a team. There are many different
ways that teams can be split up. The following are some that have been
used successfully."Nicolas Fraire (San Jose, CA)*

*****Below
is a list of more than **40
**ways in which to come up with partners and teams.
Use those you like and skip those that you do not. Most of these
ideas were posted on PE-Talk and the USPE listserves.

(credit is given when known, please let me know if I missed any names.)

*Ideas
5-10
11-15
16-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-42*

**2. Muscle Puzzles-as above
using muscles and locations(shapes cut help also)**
**(*adaption of Curt Hinson,DE)
activity**

*3. Colored circles**Colored circles which
match the pinnie colors work for quick and easy team selection. As
you take a circle, you then get a pinnie which matches. (Cathy Beam,PA)*

**4. Velcro letters**
**Give each child a letter
with velcro on the back of the piece. Have the students move around
the space. Once all students have a piece ask them to locate a sign
which has their letter. Each sign has a word dealing with the topic
of the day. Forexample; in a soccer lesson sample signs might read:
K I C K or G O A L or F O O T. Each child then sticks their
letter on a sign. A letter can be used only once.**
**(Tom Stoddart,NJ)**

*5. Looney
Tune Partners**
I have a deck of Looney Toon playing Cards. It contains pairs of
all the characters. When the class comes in I shuffle 12 pair of cards
for 24 kids. If the class is uneven I throw in a joker. I deal
the cards and that is their "Looney Toon Partner". The person with
the joker gets to pick the two he/she**wants to work with.
(Kathleen Leadley Green Bay,WI )*

** 6. Using "Count
Off" with style (Ask
the students to get into groups of 4. Groups of 3 or 5 work well
also, depending on the class size and the number of students per
team. Give them 10 seconds to find a group.)**
**
From this point, I vary what I do!!!!**
**
a. One time I will create larger teams, by combining the different
small groups, as a whole.**
**
b. Another time, I will have each person in a group count off, and
then I combine the 1's together,**
**
the 2's together and so on.**
**
c. Another way is to have each student in class choose a partner.
Sometimes they stay with their**
**
partner and sometimes I split the partners. (Dan McGee MI)**

*7. Choose
the teams myself**When I want to have
a round robin tournament that will be ongoing for several weeks. I simply
go through my gradebook, and choose the teams myself. I know my kids very
well, and the teams have always been very evenly matched*

**8. Deck of cards**
**A method for splitting
up teams is simply by using a deck of cards. Have each student pick a card.
This will give you the option of splitting up into small groups (by numbers)
or 4 teams (by suit) or 2 teams (by color).**

*9. Slips of paper**Another way of splitting
a class into groups is by writing each student's name on a piece of paper
and drawing names. This gives you the flexibility of forming small groups
or large groups. You decide how big the groups will be. With so many different
ways to split a class into groups or teams, there is absolutely no reason
to use the "captain-choice method.*

*Another
way to do slips of paper**I use the roll and
place all students names on a sheet of paper. Leave room for cutting
out names.**I then, cut out/off
the names, fold, and place in an envelope. Just prior to starting
the game, we 'draw'. I actually pull names from the envelope, place
in front of them on the desk. Making sure all see, I then "stir"
these names, then begin picking names for teams. Students are then
placed at**specified areas around
the floor. Of course, I make a big deal out the the names I 'draw'.(AtRisk95)*

**(Items
# 10 to 23 Joe Gallo and Barb Tantala ,PA)**
**10. Famous Pairs**
**For groups of 2 (pairs),
assign each student a name :mustard and ketchup, PB and jelly, hot and
cold, etc. Have a "mustard" find a "ketchup", a "PB" find a "jelly", a
"hot" find a "cold", etc.**

**Continue to see more GREAT IDEAS !!!**

**Return
to the random ideas page**

*11.
Puzzled People**Cut a group of 3x5
cards in two pieces, make different shapes, have students locate and
match to get a partner.*

**12.Characteristics:**
**Find someone with the
same/different eye color, hair color, clothing, foods, movies, hobbies,
etc.**

*13. Famous trios** On cards or
paperwrite famous trios. Peter, Paul, and Mary- The three bears(mama
bear, papa bear, baby bear)-Three Stooges - Do, Re, Mi - Theodore, Simon,
Alvin - etc.** ***14. Sports puzzles**
**Laminate pictures of
sports or sports figures,teams, fields, etc. and cut into 4 or more odd
shaped pieces. The students with the matching pieces must find each other.
I even have the kids come up with their own team name based on the
puzzle. For example a balloon picture> " The High Flyers"**

*15. Quotes puzzles**Laminate famous quotes
and cut into 4 or more odd shaped pieces. The students with the matching
pieces must find each other.*

**16.Colored
clothespins**
**Pass out different colored
clothes pins. Matching colors determine the teams. Clothespins can also
be labled with letters, terms, shapes, etc.**

*17. Numbers:** Students count
off in 4's, or 5's, or 6's, etc. Split teams by using numbers. All the
1's are a team, or 1's and 4's are a team, etc. You can combine
and "re-combine" the numbers in any variety of ways based on t he groups
size needed. I even let the kids choose which numbers will work together
sometimes.*

18.**Index cards**
**Use index cards with
the students name on the card. I use these for taking roll also.
Randomly draw the cards from the box for teams, partners, etc. If
you wish to group boys and girls, use 2 boxes. You may even allow
the students to draw the cards, although this takes longer.**
*Another way to use index
cards*** I have the large
size index cards for each student. I use the index cards to keep personal
records. These cards also come in handy for choosing teams. If I want to
make fairly even teams in terms of ability, I pre-arrange the cards into
teams, and then just call out the teams. Most of the time, I just mix up
the cards in front of the students. I ask one student to tell me when to
stop** **mixing.
When he or she says stop. I call out the names in the order they came **
**up.** (WEISSICE)

*19. Four corners:**Give students a choice
of cartoon characters (or sports, desserts, fruits, amusement ride, or...)
and have students write down their choice.(this prevents changing to get
with favorite friends) Now have students go to the corner of the room of
their choice. Allow groups a minute to discuss why a particular corner
was chosen. Now you can make teams from same or one from each
corner.*

**20. Hands in the air:**
**Have all students choose
to put right hand up, left hand up, both, or none. Students should
decide in their head first and silently. On the count of "3" all
raise hands. Allow students to match with a similaror different student
as you instruct.**
**Continue to see more GREAT IDEAS !!!**

**Return
to the random ideas page**

*21.
Alphabet soup:**Use the first or last
names and match by letters. - a-f, g-k, l-q, etc.*

**22. Birthdays:**
** Use the
month, day , span of days (1st-6th). You can even do this one without
talking. Line all the students up by age/month/day of month.
Now you may combine the children into needed groups.**

*23. Either/or Choices:** Pose a question
to the class and have them record response on scrap paper. Star Wars
or Star Trek, apple juice or orange, plain pizza or toppings, hot dog or
pizza,etc. Once again now put the students together with similar
or different "choice" partners.***(Items # 10 to 23 Joe
Gallo and Barb Tantala ,PA)**

** 24. "Free
agents" **
**In all my 5-8th grade
PE classes, I chose the teams. It is my goal to have every student
have an opportunity to work with every student in** **the
class. It also avoids any student being picked last.
I tell students at the beginning of the year that they are all my "free
agents" and I might have to trade them to teams at some point.**
**(Michelle Rollins , AZ)**

*25. Secret Draft**I start the semester
by using their squads as teams until I get to know their abilities, competittive
level etc. We recently "picked teams" in this way. I chose 4 girls who
have good skill ability and have shown that they can be fair. I gave them
the class**list,
a piece of paper and a place away from everyone else. I told them that
they were to fairly divide the class so that they felt their teams were **equal. This did not
take the whole class period and I think the girls*** enjoyed doing it this
way. No one knew if they were picked last or first.**
(

**26. Four
lines**
**Four lines and 1&2
versus 3&4 ; 1&4 then chose every other person to go with 1&4.**
**(Gerry Cernicky,PA)**

*27. "Clothes
make the teams"**Sports or College
shirts, the extra just chose to go to either team if uneven ; white shoe
laces and other color ; blue and red clothes - yellow and black,etc.
(*Gerry Cernicky,PA)

**28. "Rookies"and
" If you think you won, you did."**

**THE BEST
I have found out is to very carefully and methodically take the importance
of WINNING away. Being VERY competitive myself was hard work for me to
do and THIS WORKS. Also, during**
**the activity, establish
"Rookies", or those players that are chosen to switch teams at any time
when one team is behind or needs help. NOW! when we leave class , if someone
asks who won,reply" If you think you won, you did." Plus, during the activity
, I'll "forget" the actual score or I'll say BLUE by one point or half
a point and soon they'll concentrate on and more teamwork.**
**(Gerry Cernicky,PA)**

**29. "Top Draft Picks only"**
**We let captains choose
some players on their teams and the rest we split up on the teams so that
NO ONE is chosen last! The kids don't complain and they are usually pretty
fair because all of the better athletes are split up early! No one looks
sad or disappointed that they were put on a team and when we are going
down the line telling them what team to go on they usually figure out how
to arrange themselves in line so that they may end up on a team with someone
they want to be teammates with and IT ALL WORKS OUT! It is very successful
for us. (B. Conrad 342)**

**30.**
**S everal ideas from New
Games:**

**Return
to the random ideas page**

*31.
"Put Your Foot Down"**I also sometimes just
make everyone take off one shoe and I then throw shoes to one side of the
gym or the other (works well with 4 teams and the kids always seem to have
a laugh watching me toss shoes around). (Diego Wells in Santa
Cruz, Bolivia)*

**32. A "TAB-ulous" idea**
**To form teams I have
a extra large can with a sock over the top. Inside I placed 2 sets
of 10 tabs that are made out of construction paper and laminated.
I have my students get into two lines, one line of boys and one line
of girls. I count the number of boys (ex. 12 boys) and then
I put in 6 yellow tabs and 6 black tabs. I mix them up in the can
and pull the tabs out one at a time and that is the team color the first
boy is on, and then I continue until all the boys in the line have been
placed on a team. I then do the same thing for the girls line.
I have used this technique for several years and the students usually don't
complain since it is a random pick. Teams are not always fair, but
at least my students don't have their feelings hurt.
(Kimberly A. Fruchey)**

*33.**
Cross Your Heart**A great way to pick
teams is to have students cross their arms across their chest. Amazingly
(at least I was amazed) it almost always works out to about 50% cross right
over left, and the other 50% cross left over right. (Andrew Hershey,Seattle
WA )*

**34. Whistle Numbers**
**During warm up activities
, I would ask the children to move around the gym in various ways( skipping,
low to the ground, high as they can, etc). Every few seconds blow your
whistle- or which ever signal you choose- the number of times you want
a group of children to be. Ex) 3 blasts, groups of three. After a few rounds
of this make the groups bigger and... you have your teams already made.
There may be a few stragglers, put them where you see fit. Or you could
"add' groups together to get the desired number of students together. 2
groups of 3 make teams of 6.**
**(Angela Slaunwhite)**
** **
*35. Dice are Nice**Each student rolls
a die. The 1,2,3 make a team, the 4,5,6 makes another team. Or any combination
of numbers rolled. (I have used a box for them to roll the dice in
to keep it under control.)**(Angela Slaunwhite)*

**36.
Back to back splits**
**I will sometimes tell
them to stand back to back with a partner, and then one partner is on one
team and the other partner is on the other team. Sometimes when I have
them pair up I will split them down the middle so that they can be with
their partner. (TSenoj)**

*37. Waist pinnies**I pick by handing
out our waist pinnies, or counting in ways that the students have know
idea how the numbers will be grouped. (i.e. Count off by 12's and then
group them anyway that you**want!!) (Mary Ruth
Hammer Pittsburgh, PA )*

**38. Tongue depressors**
**I have used tongue depressors
on which I put ** **numbers. I shuffle the sticks around and then
hold them in my hand, hiding** **the numbers. Each student picks a stick
and then I choose the numbers**
**which make up each team.
Sometimes I use "odd and even", sometimes 1-8 and** **9-16, and other
times call out random numbers. Some are not happy with** **this method,
but do realize that even when the teams are not equal, it was** **the
"luck of the draw" that caused the situation.**

(**Annette Poston** **Bethesda,
MD** )

*39. Kids Count**This is the method
I use to "choose" teams in my 3-5th grade classes: first I count how many
kids are in class and ask the kids how many should be on each team
(ie. if there are 24 kids in class, they would come up with 12 on a team).
Then I tell them to make two fair teams, which includes both boys**and girls, using the
number they came up with. They go to two orange lines which are about 8'
apart, facing each other, and after some self-changes, sit when they feel
the teams are fair and even. The only rule is they can't tell someone else
to change teams; they can only move themselves. It still**amazes me how well
this works and how fair the teams end up. NO ONE is "chosen" - last, or
otherwise - and the kids have ownership of the resulting teams. (Kathy
Wells Beaverton)*

*40. Topics of Interest**I often pick names
pertaining to a upcoming holiday, sporting event, weather events, looney
tune characters, colors, trees, etc. such as Rudolph the Reindeer, Frostys,
grinches, whos or witches, ghosts, skeletons, pumpkins, leprechauns, trolls,
giants, etc. Often I give them a topic ie xmas, football teams,
countries, and they choose the names.....or I'll have them count off, and
combine 1&3, 2&4, etc. I change the combo of numbers.
Choosing partners usually works well in getting fair teams.......Forming
groups of 4? and combining groups works too. (Sugaly)*

**41. Silent Selection**
**I have not seen this
method of making teams and I wanted to share it. It works well with
4-8th grade. Tell the students what the most important skill of the game
is. Everyone in the room is aware of each other's skill in a given
area. I ask the class to stand on two lines about 10' apart from
each other. It does not matter how many are on each line. The
object is to make two (or X) teams that will be equal in skill. The
teams do not have to have the same number of people on them. Everyone
begins standing up. You are not allowed to talk, point or make any
gestures of any kind. If you do you will be assigned a team and must sit
out the first 5 minutes of the game. The only thing you can do to
change the teams is to go over to the other team. If you think the
teams are fair, you sit down. If you sit down and then someone moves,
you may stand back up. You may move back and forth as many times
as you need to. When everyone is sitting down, I ask one more
time if everyone is happy with the teams. Yes, this does take a few
minutes the first time you do it. The next time is much faster.
The teams usually work out to be very fair. If they are not, we stop
the game and start over. This method seems to give the students
ownership of the team. It also makes them think about their skill
level. You must be very strict on the talking and gesturing part.
This is where someone's feelings will be hurt. (Larry Satchwell )**

*42. Color Cards(integration
anyone???)**For my younger students,
especially 1st grade, I use cards with the color words printed on them.
This was an idea that the 1st grade teachers and I thought up together.
The kids needed reinforcement of their reading of the color words.
I made about 8 of each color (red, green, blue, yellow, orange, purple,
black, brown) and laminated them. As students come into class, I hand them
each one and**they need to go to
the cone that is the color of their word. (Actually, I haven't used black
or brown because I don't have any cones in those colors. (Marcey Seigel)*

**Return
to the random ideas page**

**During my 16 years of teaching I have experimented
with the various ways of dividing classes into teams or groups for activities.
The students obviously want to be with their friends (and who can blame
them.) I soon discovered that my responsibility
was not to inhance their current friendships, but to teach them the
value of physical activity and how to work in a group. In real life
with usually do not get to "pick our teams", we have to learn to
work with the team we are assigned with. This means we have use our
strengths to help in the team effort, and to help others to find
and develop their strengths so they to can help the team. The bottom
line is that people hate to be chosen last, we should never put kids
in such a situation. When people tell me they hated PE in school
it usually comes out that it involved a feeling of poor self-esteem directly
related to how teams were picked in their classes. My philosophy
is that each individual should be able to work on personal improvement
in each and every activity that we do. Evaluate each student based
on their core information, not by a comparison to others in their class.
This requires Pre-test in all activities which is a lot of work, but in
the long run our students will enjoy it much more. I always pick
the teams using a variety of counting and dividing methods so the students
can not "plan ahead" and seat themselves in sequence.**
** (Carl E. Benson West Grove, PA)**

*I can't believe anyone would use "choosing
teams" please don't tell me you're doing that thing where kids stand
up and call out who they want on their team. I can't imagine any
better way to damage a kids desire to participate. If you make pe a place
where every kid is "safe" your**discipline and participation problems will al but
disappear. I teach in an inner city elementary school (95%at risk
population) and have a great time with the kids in PE. Kids know that their
ego is safe in PE. (Val Rossman )*

**There are so many wonderful
ways to chose teams the past week BUT I have found out a better solution
and causes little problems. Take the emphasis out of WINNING. Try activities
that highlight performance than an overall winner. During the activity,
I begin to keep score and then gradually**
**FORGET...EXAMPLE: After
the game/activity(Floor hockey)....Did you pass to a teammate? Did you
score, Did you block a shot ? Did you do better than last week? If you
think you won , you did! I have red and blue sticks - when I start with
the score(1-0) etc. I 'll say red , blue , blue , red scored. Then I'll
ask what color did you think you heard the most? Good for your team. This
takes time and by teaching good sportsmanship is a plus....When I first
start(in my gym), I say go to the yellow mat side, go**
**to the bleacher side by
alternating each student. Also, during the game, if one team gets ahead,
I have free agent/rookies , who flip flop between teams...Gradually,
the method of chosing teams becomes moot but use interesting ideas....college
shirts , short sleeves, cartoon shirts, high tops , low top shoes, sisters,
brothers, color clothes, birthdays and eye color. (Gerry Cernicky,PA)**