Sunday, December 17, 2017

#SundayFunday Making Group Work WORK

Here is yet another late #SundayFunday post.  I'm still making progress towards making a post on time though.  This post is 3 weeks :/   Here is more info if you'd like to join in the fun.

The challenge this week is to share a bit about how to successfully incorporate group work into your class.  I love group work in theory.  The possibilities of students learning from each other are worth the difficulties of implementing a group work routine.  I think the routine piece is what makes group work WORK :)

One way that I try to make group work more focused and avoid the typical problem of one student doing all the work and another doing nothing is to use participation quizzes, especially during the first few group assignments.  At first, I am the one providing feedback to groups, but eventually I like students to take over monitoring their own groups.

I first read about participation quizzes in Jo Boaler's Mathematical Mindsets book.  The name is a bit misleading.  It's not really a quiz, but rather feedback on the functionality of the group.  Boaler suggests posting a list of look-fors like these in the room.

Next, I record observations on a record sheet while students are working.  The record sheet looks a lot like a seating chart but for groups.  I record target behaviors as I observe them.  Boaler suggests these target behaviors.

Another thing that I like to do is check in with groups by asking a question of one random student in the group based on the work that they have done so far.  If the student can not answer the question, I know that the groups are not really working together.  I let the group know that I'll cycle back to them in a few minutes and will ask the same question of the same student and that I expect a good answer from them.  This is enough accountability for most students.

I have also dabbled in using group roles.  I prefer CPM's group roles, but I'm not very good at enforcing them.  I've had more success with the participation quizzes than anything else, but I'd love to hear your ideas on holding students accountable for using their roles.  Here are the CPM roles.  I post these in my room.

And here are the CPM norms.  I also post these in class.

That's all for now.  I look forward to reading about how other make group work WORK!