Saturday, October 15, 2011

Group Work Wednesday

Over the past two years I have become very interested in group work.  When my class size grew from 16 to 26 (with MAP scores from the 2nd to the 98th percentile in the same class) group work became more appealing to reach all ability levels.  In my mind I could create amazing group work activities where students would put their heads together to solve rich problems, and learn from their engaging conversations.

Then reality sank in...   

It is really hard to find those "rich" problems.  It is even harder (and time consuming) to create your own.  Even though students were suppose to come to a consensus about a solution, I always had students who could never explain how they got to their answer.  Oh, and those "engaging" conversations students were having about math- always seem to switch to what happened over the weekend when they saw me focused on a different group.

Things NEEDED to change....

After reading a few books, attending a couple of workshops, and a curriculum centered around group work, I think I am finally onto something.  Although my students are still not working at the level I want them to, I have seen enough success to keep me exploring different strategies.  I want to keep reflecting on my strategies so I have decided to devote Wednesdays to reflect and share my successes and failures.

If anyone has any tips or tricks that have worked please share!  

Stay tuned for my first post next week on group norms!  

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