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The merits of decentralized small groups has been questioned in literature and by practicing teachers; thus this study shows the academic and identity work children do as they attempt to make meaning in these spaces.This study explores the affordances and drawbacks of decentralized small group discussion contexts in a multiage (3rd/ 4th) grade classroom. Practical and theoretical implications from the data suggest that decentralized small groups are valuable in a variety of ways, but children need to be guided in developing effective interactional styles. Data were analyzed using a combination of constant comparative methods and a micro analysis of talk drawing on traditions of sociolinguistics.