On a the back of a sticky note, write down some topics or themes that your students know, or have recently learned about. Examples of themes could be: famous scientists, Great Lakes, capital cities…etc. Each student receives a folded sticky note with one of these themes inside. By calling out words that relate to their theme (they are not allowed to use any of the words written on the sticky), they must attempt to identify other members of their team who have also been assigned the same theme.
How this can be used in the classroom: Prior to assigning groups, ask students to write down their names on the centre of a cue card, and the names of six (or any number of your choosing) other classmates they would not mind working with. You may then collect these cards and sort through them during lunch or break, and create the groupings from there. By assigning each student a theme instead of reading out their groups to the class, you are still asking them to use the knowledge they have learned in order to come up with words related to their topic. Students who have trouble coming up with words can practice their active listening learn to recognize terms that are related to their topic.