Reading Ranciere on Jacotot (Ignorant Schoolmaster) I have been thinking about the idea of constraint, of force, or the subordination of one will to another without sacrificing the equality of intelligences. ("Entre l'eleve et le maitre s'etait etabli un pur rapport de volonte a volunte..."p25) The student's will is subjected to that of the teacher, but the intelligences of the teacher and student are separate and equal.
There are many ways to form small groups for learning activities. One tool that I like for its flexibility is to give each participant a playing card, then form groups on the basis of poker hands (or some other game): Four of a kind, Flush, Straight, Straight Flush, etc.
You can have face cards (or any other set) be observers or note-takers. You can have jokers be facilitators. You can form groups of any size.
What makes games useful in learning is not just that they get people participating, that they involve physical movement and responding to a changing environment, that they require creativity and quick responses, that they create a kind of mini-world in which what we say and do has immediate and obvious relevance and measurable impact, not just that they are fun...