Collaboration Struggles

I really really really want my students to collaborate this trimester. Nearly every year, I start with my students in pods of four. And at the end of nearly every year, my desks are separated from these pods. In recent years, the desks have ended up in pairs – so that’s OK I guess… Regardless, improved student (and teacher) collaboration is one of my goals this year.

Seventy-ish percent (just a guess) of my students enjoy working and collaborating together and actually get something out of it. When this happens, and I get to watch it, it’s AMAZEBALLS. I love it. It makes me happy.

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However, 70-ish percent is just not good enough for me. I’ve already had complaints of “my group never talks.” And I’ve seen it. I need to take more stock into actually  getting students to collaborate positively with each other. Especially in my Algebra 2 Concepts class – I think that will be my challenge this trimester. I want them to be POSITIVE collaborators.

So I’m trying to do the whole assign roles for each person in the group. And actually hold them accountable – I just don’t really know how this is going to happen. The plan is to introduce and assign these roles tomorrow. I was also inspired by @JustinAion to get kids to say positive things about each other’s work – I need to give this a “go.”

Any advice?

Week three begins tomorrow 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Collaboration Struggles

  1. I do/did participation quizzes to make sure they are working well together. I gave some time to get used to their roles and let them know there will be participation quizzes and they don’t know which groups are being observed when I do them. I would print out the roles and walk around with a clip board writing down the things I saw and heard, only keeping track of 3 groups at most a day. I also had them grade themselves at the end of the week. When all groups are observed I make copies of the observations and give them back to the groups. They are amazed at what is heard and seen.

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