Sunday, December 20, 2009

Group Work

I am used to doing group work with my students at SGS, but as I think about implementing a group work system with my students (specifically my Algebra 1, and especially my first period Algebra 1 students) I am starting to doubt whether or not this is a good idea. First of all, there are a number of students absent each period. My CT currently has a seating chart that has students arranged in groups, and it is not uncommon to have just one student out of four show up in a group or two. Trying to shuffle these kids around to accomplish an activity can eat up a lot of class time. It becomes more complicated when students start to trickle in partway into the period. That places a lot of responsibility on the students’ group members (if they haven’t already been shuffled around into other groups) and the teacher to get them caught up part way through the class. Secondly, these students don’t have very much training in working in groups. If I were to have these students for the entire year, investing the time to develop group work skills may be worth it, but I’m not sure how I can teach this as well as keep the class moving at the pace my CT expects me to. I am still considering using group work, but I think I am going to have to rethink how to organize it. I can’t count on having stable groups, and I may have to focus on just a few group work skills to teach in the few weeks that I’ll be with the students.

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