Is there any significance to ability group names!

(64 Posts)
housebox Sun 16-Mar-14 08:44:27

This is a bit of a lighthearted thread - I'm not worrying about it (too much!). But I just wondered if when teachers give names to reading groups/numeracy groups there is any significance behind it.

Are the "elephants" a bit slow and lumbering and the "monkeys" the cheeky chatty kids?

Do the "orchids" need lots of attention and care and will the "dandilions" achieve no matter what the situation?

Or do the teachers just do it randomly to mess with our heads??

JimmyCorkhill Sun 16-Mar-14 08:46:58

I did it alphabetically so whatever the theme I knew which was the order. That's a boring answer, sorry blush

Jaynebxl Sun 16-Mar-14 08:48:50

I've come across a couple of schools where the maths groups were circles, triangles and pentagons, and where the one sided shape is for the kids who struggle but the five sided shape is the maths whizzes. Makes me chuckle.

HidingUnderMyDuvet Sun 16-Mar-14 08:50:26

I've heard of primary maths groups named after shapes where the number of sides represented the "ability"
... So triangles with 3 sides were "less able" than hexagons with 6!

HidingUnderMyDuvet Sun 16-Mar-14 08:51:26

Cross post jayne!

ShadowOfTheDay Sun 16-Mar-14 08:51:32

Our school went with the opposite - circles were the top, hexagons the strugglers....

mrz Sun 16-Mar-14 08:55:01

I haven't used group names or static grouping for over a decade - not since I heard myself telling the giraffes to wash their hands hmm

This subject keeps rearing it's head at regular intervals with parents putting forward all kinds of theories (circles less able than triangles who are are less able than squares who are less able than pentagons etc and centipedes more able than spiders who are more able than bees - urban myths in most cases) truth as Jimmy says is much less interesting.

spanieleyes Sun 16-Mar-14 09:13:00

My colleague and I both have group names of colours, blue, red, yellow etc. His highest ability group is red and his lowest is blue, mine is the exact opposite! I have had parents complain that their child has dropped from highest ability to lowest when moving into my class!

SavoyCabbage Sun 16-Mar-14 09:18:15

One if my colleagues had fruits as her groups once where the bigger the fruit the higher the fruit so I was aghast on dd's first say of school when she came home and she was a grape!

She's a Game Boy now as their topic is 'The Past' grin

MerryMarigold Sun 16-Mar-14 09:24:13

Haha. Ours are colours, but ds2's class is ability with red at top (he's in yr as is dd, but different class. They are twins). Dd was 'bottom' colour then I realised they were grouped alphabetically in her class. In y2 they are a,b,c which I don't like as it just reinforces that you are rubbish you're an e.

Hassled Sun 16-Mar-14 09:26:51

DD was in a class years ago which started with the Square table and ended up with the Dodecahedrons. Unsurprisingly, every parent managed to crack the code.

spanieleyes Sun 16-Mar-14 09:29:56

Given that most children could probably rank the whole of their class from top to bottom in terms of ability in different topic areas I don't think there's much of a code!

SapphireMoon Sun 16-Mar-14 09:32:59

I have come across the shape one for maths.
Not sure if they still do it in KS1...

MerryMarigold Sun 16-Mar-14 09:41:19

Agree spaniel. Ds1 knew he was 'bottom' from y1, but I don't think the letters or numbers help, because everyone knows a and 1 come first. other names like turquoise and magenta are slightly less 'loaded'.

EatDessertFirst Sun 16-Mar-14 09:42:29

DD is in top group for reading called 'Snails' so I hopedon't think it has much relevance to ability in our school.

Fairenuff Sun 16-Mar-14 10:34:07

We change groups quite a lot and they are fairly fluid but when we do have names for groups we often let the children choose the name themselves. One year we had weather related names and one group decided to call themselves the 'Windy Group' grin

We also have mixed ability groups for activities where less support from adults is required.

The children still know who is good at maths or reading though. They can tell just by observing each other.

TooBusyByHalf Sun 16-Mar-14 10:44:58

Dd2 and DS seem to have numbered tables 1-5. They are not too static and 4 and 5 are equal top. I don't know if 1 is bottom but I assume so.

BellsaRinging Sun 16-Mar-14 10:55:31

ha! my old school had 3 groups a, aleph and alpha for that reason....suspect it was a v competitve parent type environment. however if i was a teacher i would def be tempted to have a bit of fun with the names. ds tells me he is aztec, greek or tudor,depending on the subject...not sure what to make of that!

Seryph Sun 16-Mar-14 11:15:05

I remember in my Y1 class (so we are talking twenty odd years ago) the teacher trying to work out what swimming groups we should be in (the school had an outside pool that had been built in the 50s). He asked us all how much swimming we had done, did we have any badges etc. The groups ended up being, sharks, dolphins, fish, ducks, bricks. The difference between ducks and bricks was that the ducks had been swimming with arm bands, and the bricks had never been swimming. We all thought this was hilarious, though it is worth pointing out the sharks and dolphins were very supportive of the bricks when we actually got in the water.

tiggytape Sun 16-Mar-14 12:00:49

After years at primary school, secondary schools don't employ any such attempts at subterfuge. DS went from a many sides shape in Year 6 to set 1 in maths at secondary. They even tell us roughly where he is in set 1 (not that high at the moment!) and they call it Set 1. I am not sure if it is even designed to be discreet after the first couple of years or so at primary school since everyone knew by Year 6 where every other child ranked in the class for pretty much every subject.

I like the idea of bricks in swimming. I’d have been the one down from that – a boulder maybe. Or a small block of lead?

Our school does the shape thing for maths- also the reading groups seem to go Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green and Violet....

missknows Sun 16-Mar-14 14:46:38

I was on placement in a year 1 class once and the literacy groups were named after Magic Key characters. It was apparently random but yes the bottom group was the 'floppy' group.

Nocomet Sun 16-Mar-14 15:01:27

Yes their significances is to pointlessly confuse parents.

Any class above reception could line up in ability order for any subject in about 5 minutes.

WooWooOwl Sun 16-Mar-14 16:01:01

Our primary uses animals. The animals chosen seems to be based on the funniest pictures the teacher can find that year, and it changes every year.

At secondary it's much more straightforward with sets 1-4.

Heifer Sun 16-Mar-14 16:05:50

DDs Maths groups are called (these are in the top set Yr5)

Pythagoras
Archimedes
Einstein

so you can't tell who is top from the name alone but as someone said, the children know exactly who is in the top group etc.

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