Teaching Group Work: Building Student Collaboration and Agency
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Teaching Group Work: Building Student Collaboration and Agency

>>Kathy Murphy: We’re going to
pretend the whole class is one group, and we want to see how
well you work together. You need to get in line by the day
you were born, without talking.>>Dan St. Louis: Because we
teach group work to our students, they know they have a
piece to contribute.>>Kathy Murphy: No words.>>They know how to use their
resources in other people and they know how to
build ideas together.>>Kathy Murphy: Now we’re going
to say the day you were born.>>Seven,>>Nine,>>Nine,>>Ten.>>Eleven.>>Kathy Murphy: Whoo-hoo, we got it!>>Dan St. Louis: We are an
all honors curriculum here, which means we’re providing high level
instruction from grades seven to twelve. Given that, however, we have
entirely heterogeneous classes where you’ve got kids of all different
previous levels of achievement.>>Kaitlin Kelley: At University
Park, you’re going to see group work from grades seven all
the way to grades twelve. We start in seventh grade with
roles and responsibilities.>>Kathy Murphy: You want to make
sure you understand what are the responsibilities of each of the
roles that you’ve been given.>>I don’t think group
work comes naturally. I think it’s something
that they have to learn.>>Student: One plus eight.>>Today we were learning about
integers, positive and negative numbers. Now it’s time to take the
basic skills and transfer it into real world solving problems.>>The person who’s the questioner,
you will come up and get the problem, because you have to read the
problem to your group partners.>>For this particular
activity, we give roles. There would be a questioner,
a summarizer and a clarifier.>>The clarifier will set up the problem, make sure each group
member agrees with the plan.>>One side of the paper that
I gave them would be prompts, so that it helps them take away
that nervousness because it says, oh, you have to say something.>>If you’re not sure how
to start the conversation, if you want to say something,
use those sheets.>>J.J.: Teachers want us to
like, learn with each other, so we can all know like, what different
ways you can solve the problem, and not just like, the teacher’s way. I personally really love that,
because I like to like, experience, like how other people
solved the problem, so see if I can have a
strategy for that too.>>Kathy Murphy: Is it done
by the end of the year? By no means, no, no, no. I mean, it’s a struggle day
in and day out for sure, but they definitely get better at it.>>Student: Yeah.>>Dan St. Louis: We’re not just
pushing desks together and thinking, that’s group work now, but really
giving challenging assignments that require multiple voices,
that require people to have a role in building knowledge together.>>Kaitlin Kelley: And
so we built it that we. We’ll kind of pull away some of the
scaffolds as the kids get older, and then you can really see them
working together in a collaborative way.>>Student: So it’s seven point
five by seven point five.>>Shannon Hammond: We’re
starting a unit on polynomials.>>It will be similar
to what you did here.>>When you’re dealing with polynomials,
you’re dealing with dimensionality, so they’re all building eight
shapes with an outer box. Hopefully, to tie together
the symbolic and the spatial.>>Student: Which one do you want to do?>>Seven point five,>>By seven point five cube,>>Yeah,>>All right, then I’ll do one of the
twelve point fives by seven point five.>>Student: Okay.>>Shannon Hammond: A good group
work problem, it’s got to be so big that you need your partner to
help decide on the organization, to try this while you’re
trying something related to it.>>Trinity Starting this
project I was really confused because this class is fairly difficult. But I find that when you go to other
classmate, it helps tremendously.>>Shannon Hammond: Then they can be
talking to the other groups around them and seeing maybe a different
way to tweak their process.>>Trinity: So what he
did was, he came up here and drew each box that this group had.>>Although we’re in our own individual
groups, it’s very helpful to go to another group and ask questions. When you finally get to the
answer, it sticks with you longer than the teacher just
telling you the answer.>>Oh, I see.>>Dan St. Louis: The world, more and
more, relies on people being able to work together, to
collaboratively solve problems.>>Student: Hannah could do
counting how much money we have and then you all can do how
much everything is in total.>>Dan St. Louis: You know, I have
kids come to me every single day. I had four seventh graders
come to me the other day. They want to do a bake
sale to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.>>Student: So all the money we
make in the bake sale is going to go towards this charity.>>So you’ve got some people
on board already to help out and you’re going to stay after today?>>Student: Yeah, but
they just need to know when they have to have it by, so that–>>They see the value in teamwork.>>Well, you can go put
Friday on that announcement.>>All right.>>Yay,>>Thank you!>>You’re welcome.

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