I shy away from the blogosphere, twitter sphere and updating my facebook status all the time because I’ve always felt it wasn’t real conversation. Wrong, for the most part. Here’s what I got out of the #MTBoS mission this week, having a conversation on twitter at #alg1chat (check it out!)
1) Twitter is a great place to find resources and have a conversation. This week at #alg1chat, we talked about group work. What our experiences have been, what the challenges are, how to overcome the challenges and various activities useful in group work.
2) Twitter conversation isn’t super fluid and I only started feeling it 15 minutes in, but the ideas were there.
3) Here are the ideas! (and some activity links!)
Group work is hard because it has to be planned. We need to ensure that conversation is guided in the appropriate way without giving out the answer.
@kastidham shared this tweet “Group work has to be engineered. critical elements: a task worth talking about; purposeful grouping/pairing; culture of trust.”
The next time I have group activities (a lot during this new unit of parallel and perpendicular lines), I’m going to focus on making sure that the tasks are worth talking about.
Another tweeter said that we must make sure group activities are not activities that can be done during independent practice. I think this is an important thought that I’ve never thought about. Students, if with a partner, are given an activity that they can do by themselves they think “Why do I have a partner I rather just do this alone.” The concept of collaboration is not there when one person holds all the information. Perhaps I can rig activities too, where each person has pieces of information the other doesn’t. TOGETHER they must solve.
Purposeful grouping and pairing is an issue once you have the activity figured out. The moderator brought a great point, put high level students with middle level and middle level with low level. This way no one feels too far from reach. My last mission also required I watch a video on globalmath, which talked about using data for grouping – almost a no brainer but hardly do we use data for such simple things!
Lastly, a culture of trust is worth having in any setting. This is something my class is working on for the rest of the year with positivity points and collaboration. We will be complimenting one another for trying rather than getting the right answer. We want to build an environment where we all feel comfortable speaking even if we don’t have the right answer.
I look forward to working on all of these group issues throughout the rest of the year as many of my professional developments revolve around this issue! Here are some links to great group activities!