Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Small Groups.. friend or foe? + FREEBIE

As a student, I HATED group projects. Not only did I end up doing all the work, I usually got blamed by my teachers for not being more inclusive of other students. But did my teachers TEACH me how to be inclusive? Or how to collaborate effectively? Nope.

As I look around the pedagogical world for good advice on group work, I mainly see the idea of using roles. Sure, one person can get materials, one can ask questions, one can take notes. This is somewhat helpful, especially for younger kids. But as kids get older, they are basically left to figure out group dynamics on their own, and my experience was that this really doesn't work.

When I assign major projects, I often give students the option to work in groups or alone. But sometimes that isn't possible, as with a project to perform a scene from a play. And I also want to encourage the students who dislike group work to dabble in it, because heaven knows, they are going to see a lot of group scenarios in their lives. Board rooms, faculty meetings, family dinners, PTA gatherings - group dynamics are everywhere you turn as an adult! So I feel like giving my students some clues along these lines is a really important service.

In an effort to condense my thoughts and experiences on group work into a curriculum packet for students, I created these handouts:

I've decided to give them away for the next week so teachers who want to can try them out in their classrooms. I'm hoping to get some product feedback on this new packet. I think it can really help a lot of students with something that was always hard for me. Please go and download them, then if you get a chance, leave a review to let me know what you think! 

For more group work ideas, check out a growing collection of resources on my Pinterest Small Groups page

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