Tear-off Your Content to Create Small Groups

tear-off your content

I’m preparing for an upcoming presentation and have been thinking of creative ways to split the participants into small groups without the overused “numbering-everyone-off” strategy. I’m enrolled in Tony Vincent’s Classy Creations course and this week one of the many things Tony taught us was how to create a tear-off sheet – you know, the kind that you often see posted in which you can tear off a tab of information to take with you. Even while watching Tony’s tutorial I knew THIS was the solution I was looking for! I could put a tear-off sheet at each table, ask participants to take one, and then get into small groups based on their tear-off.

BUT my brainstorm didn’t stop there… I realized that I could use words from my content on the tear-offs to get my participants thinking on topic individually before they even get to their small groups! Here’s what I came up with for my upcoming presentation:

Tearable Slide Elements (1)

After I print it, I’ll cut along the dotted lines just up to the zig-zag line. The zig-zag line will be where the tabs will tear-off. I’m planning to put one at each table so my participants can just tear one off when I ask them to during the session. If I have more tabs than I need at each table, I can just tear off the extra words to ensure my group sizes will be even.

One of my Classy Creations classmates, Marilyn McAllister, commented on my work that she could see this as a great way to facilitate students dividing up for partner work or small group collaboration. She’s right! Here’s a template you can edit to use with YOUR students or adult learners.

Tear-off Template

What if you used this template to have students grab a vocabulary word that you want them to research as a group. Need 6 groups? Then choose 6 vocab words from your content and repeat them over and over. Have students tear off a tab as they enter the room, have them reflect on the word individually or write down everything they know so far about their word as a warm-up before having them group up and complete their research in small groups.

Or what if you wrote a math problem on each tear-off tab? Need 10 partners? Then write 10 math problems two times each. Students work their problems individually after tearing off their tab, then find their partner and check each other’s work. They could even write a reflection or record a video as a partnership once they agree on the best solution.

If you find a use, be sure to fold along the zig-zag line back and forth a couple of times. This makes it easier for your scissors to know where to stop cutting and it makes it easier to tear off in a perfectly straight line when in use!

I love the idea of using the tear-off as a way to get students thinking individually, then in small groups or partners! By setting this up ahead of time, you save valuable class time and ensure that students are working with different classmates! How might you use a tear-off in your classroom or school? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments!


3 thoughts on “Tear-off Your Content to Create Small Groups

  1. Cheyenne Green says:

    This is such a clever idea (per usual)! I’ll for sure be using it in an upcoming student intervention program, where I won’t know much about students, their personalities, or their prior knowledge going into it. And of, course, I’ll be sharing it with our teachers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meredith Akers says:

      I used it at a recent staff meeting with words pertaining to our campus vision. It was a great way to mix everyone up, get them moving, and get them talking on topic! So excited to hear you’ve thought of uses for it too!!


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