Group Work Norms: How can I reinforce these?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

    May 14, 2012
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    Oct 6, 2018

    My mentor observed me last week in my difficult class and she said that one thing that would greatly help is group/partner work norms. I allow kids to work in partners (in my tough class) and groups in all of my other classes. The desks are in paired rows but they turn their desks around for group work.

    One of the norms she said that she reinforces is that everyone has to be on the same problem at the same time. At first, I felt like it wouldn't work for the higher kids, but it actually went really well in my first and last period class. I didn't provide any help to kids, but I just went around checking that they were all on the same problem to hold them accountable. I also got observed when I introduced this norm for partner work to the kids in my difficult class and they somehow pulled it together & my principal was impressed.

    My question do I keep this going? In my first class, I gave the kids stickers as rewards for staying on the same problem (not getting to 3 strikes) and they loved it. Only two groups didn't get a sticker. In my last period class, I used what my mentor did and told the kids that they would get a strike if they weren't on the same problem. I said three strikes mean that you have to do it independently and it counts for a grade. (Again, this was my mentor's policy.) It worked extremely well for them & they can be a class that gets off topic. I gave strikes for this too and no group was off topic or not on the same problem more than once!! It was amazing! I knew this would work for this class because they are more motivated by grades. Most importantly, the increased focus lead to more collaboration + more work being completed! I'm wondering if I should use the same rule for my other two classes.

    In my second class (the most difficult), I have one kid who is extremely low. I want to refer him for sped testing. He works well with a partner now, but his partner is low-medium and he failed his test (35% -- only because I gave him one point just for trying every problem) and his partner got a D. There is another kid who is also low and cannot do a lot of the work. He demonstrates lots of avoidance behaviors + disruptive behaviors and isn't fun to work with. How would you handle these two kids?

    My mentor also recommended a prize or something for the kids who finish first with 100% accuracy. I'm a little worried because I don't like rewarding speed but I'm not sure if this is the way to go to motivate the kids! I prefer not to use extrinsic rewards but most teachers have a prize box. I really want to set collaborative work norms with all of my classes and I'm not sure how to reinforce them.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018

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