Students who cannot work in groups

Discussion in 'General Education' started by lucybelle, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Aug 18, 2016

    (second question!)

    In my class (7th grade science) we do labs at least once a week. I do my best (of course) to sit students with other students with whom I think they will work well. Students are not allowed to pick groups. The issue I had last year was I had certain students who were, because of diagnosed (and undiagnosed) behavioral problems, incapable of working in a group. They would get angry, throw things around, break equipment, etc. I would remove these students and assign them an alternate written assignment. But every lab I would let them try again because I know it's these students who need hands-on activities and group work more than anything else and I want to give them that opportunity.

    I'm sort of thinking of a reflection sheet to go along with the alternate assignment. After the alternate assignment they have to fill out the reflection sheet. If they don't finish it or if it's sarcastic, poorly done, etc, then for the next lab they will automatically get the alternate assignment and need to finish/re-do the reflection sheet.

    What sort of protocol do you follow for being allowed to participate in group lab work?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 18, 2016

    What are you doing during these non group compliance issues? What do the IEPs say regarding cooperative learning? And are you setting activities up so it's truly cooperative learning and not just group work?
     
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  4. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    What do you mean what am I doing? Like how do I intervene?

    IEPs don't mention anything or the kid does not have IEP. When I spoke with SpEd teacher she told me to just pull them out of the group. Not even give them a chance to work in a group setting.

    Group projects are definitely set up so that each member has a specific duty. Labs are not. I have tried to implement "jobs" where one kid gets supplies, one is the "leader", etc but I didn't like it. I always roam during labs to make sure each student is participating.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Yes. How are you making sure each kid is accountable? If kids can't work in groups and don't have an IEP, either hold them accountable for not doing what is required of them in the cooperative activity (you might want to look up the requirements for true coop learning). Or set them up to do activity alone. Which sucks. Because very few jobs require working in isolation. Or maybe these kids have some Unidentified learning/social issues that preclude them working with others?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  6. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2016

    Are you teaching appropriate and expected group work behaviors/ procedures/ norms? It sounds like these students don't know those so in that case it seems like you should teach what you want them to do very specifically so that when they get another chance in the future they know what to do and have a better chance of success.
     
  7. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I do go over lab expectations, but I could go over it more. Maybe put it in writing somewhere in the room. Thanks for the suggestion!

    I am looking up "cooperative learning requirements". I'd be interested to know how you implement this in your classroom. Or if you have a specific website where I can find good information. I certainly like the idea of students feeling more invested in their groups. But I can see it being difficult to use with these types of AU students, which is why I'm writing this thread. What to do when they're not invested or simply refuse to cooperate.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  9. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Aug 19, 2016

    Is it just a couple of kids? Is there any way these kids could pop in before school/lunch/recess/whenever and be told explicitly what to expect for the lab? Maybe give them a special job? A lot of my kids panic because they anticipate Everything being more difficult then it really is. This leads them to having ridiculous behavior because it's easier to look bad than to look dumb.
     
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  10. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Aug 19, 2016

    Last year, yes, it was just a couple of kids. Maybe 3 or 4 overall. I really like this idea, maybe I can try to grab them during our "homeroom" period before 1st period starts. Thanks!
     
  11. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Aug 19, 2016

    A while back I attended a week-long workshop on "Cooperative Learning" using the Johnson & Johnson model. At the time CL was all the rage. The teacher presenting the workshop had been using CL in her class for a year.

    Remember she had been using it for a school year because the first thing she said was it took her about six months before all the pieces of CL began to fall into place. Unless you are some type of super human do not expect immediate results. In fact like a lot of new skills they have a nasty habit of getting worse before they get better.

    She basically divided CL into two areas: 1) academic skills 2) social skills. Of the two, it is social skills that most teachers perform in a quick and sloppy fashion. Perhaps a reason for this is because there is so much to teach and so little time. Another reason, especially at the secondary level, is the position students should know how to behave by now. Teaching students to share and take turns seems way out of place to many secondary teachers. However, like me, I'm sure most of us have been in staff meetings where, on their best day, teachers couldn't share and take turns! So the idea high school students are too "mature" will be proved just the opposite the minute a teacher puts them in a group and assumes they have learned all the social skills necessary to get along with three other students.

    Sharing, taking turns, participating and how to communicate effectively need to be taught as carefully as any academic lesson. The teacher should model, check for understanding and students should teach their partner. A demonstration group should model for the whole class as students critique. Consider: Broken Squares [ www.humber.ca/...and-games/broken-squares.html ] BS (no, not that kind) is a team building exercise with emphasis on cooperation. It could be used as the first "assignment" for groups. The discussion after is critical.
     
  12. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 20, 2016

    If my student is capable of working on the activity by themselves, I don't have any issues with that. I had one boy last year (who won't be returning this year because of his behaviors) who was very intelligent and loved science, but couldn't stand working with people and was out right mean to them, so I just let him work on his own when he wanted to. (No need to get him all riled up.)

    If the activity needs multiple students to work it or the student can't possibly do it on their own, I will let them first participate until there's a problem, then they get a 5 minute break outside of the classroom to calm down and then a conference with me (1-2 minutes) about what they saw their behavior as and what I'm expecting from them. They have 2 options:
    1) Observe at their group for 10 minutes so that I can see how they're doing (and they must continue filling out their lab packet at the same time). They cannot touch any materials or participate in discussion - it can sound harsh but I just want them to observe what is going on and get back into the group.

    2) Observe at the front of the classroom where I normally am (I'm pretty hands off with my teaching unless I see a big problem) and fill out their packet. No participating in the activity, although I'm fine with them moving a bit closer to a group to see what they're doing or ask them a question.

    I find those 3 options allow my students to still learn what they need to and participate as they feel comfortable.
     
  13. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Aug 20, 2016

    These are excellent ideas!!! Thank you so much!
     
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