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This week I would like you to use your imagination. You have just won the lottery and will leave your teaching post immediately to travel around the world. As you leave your keys you meet your replacement. You are asked to give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice. What would that be, and why? Enjoy your world expedition!

Blog Post - Week 7
This past week in my own teaching I felt a little disconnected which prompts my question to you, "What was the moment (or moments) when I felt most disconnected or disengaged as a teacher - the moment(s) I said to myself, I'm just going through the motions here?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 6
For the past couple of weeks you have experienced asynchronous online learning (doing modules by yourself). Previously this semester you have experienced synchronous online learning (all together in the Collaborate room). Which do you think is more effective and why do you think that? Which do you like better, and why?

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 5
This week we have what we call "open mic." You can write a post about anything related to your teaching that you would like responses from your classmates.

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 4
Here is this week's question: "What was the event that most took me surprise this week - and event that shook me up, caught me off guard, gave me a jolt, or made me unexpectedly happy?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 3
Please write a post about the following question, "In thinking about my past week teaching what is one thing I would do differently, and why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 2
Please write a post about the following question, " In thinking about my teaching activities this past week, of what do I feel most proud? Why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 1
Describe something you used in your program in the first weeks of school that you learned in the summer NTI program. How did it work? Did it get you off to a stronger start than last year?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You mean I can copy?

I really try to portray the "I have it all together" to my students, not in a superior way, but in a way that makes them feel like the lesson is planned and well thought out. That being said, I tried out some of my collaborative learning skills on my advanced students. First, I had students complete 2 activities that were related to the unit (Communication) and that was a huge hit so I thought, this is good. I did the group division task and explained my methodology in a positive way. I gave them an assignment to do as a group with objectives, explained the grading scale, provided a rubric, and smiling, told them to begin working. Okay, the objective was for them to "communicate", this was the unit afterall, and complete the work as a group. They continued to work as individuals with minimal to no talking among the groups. I finally asked them to put their pencils down and tried to reinforce that, yes I wanted them to talk, yes I want them to share answers, yes they will do some copying and yes they are to communicate important aspects of the unit. I think students are so accustomed to getting in trouble when they share answers or copy work that they have difficulty making a change. Jessie said that trying something the first time seldom works! However, tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to try. I think I'll sit down with each group as a "member" and model how they should be working together. I truly believe that once they get the hang of it they will be asking if they can do the work in their groups. I think I need so additional information too, but that will come next week. I'll definately be taking notes during the chapter presentations.


Jessie H said...


I think you were right on target when you noted that students are not used to working collaboratively in small groups. Many students don't know how to work as a group or team because this type of instructional strategy is so rarely utilized in their other classes.

I agree with you that some modeling of group collaboration is in order. Here's what I've done in the past with my own students. Divide the students into their groups, and then ask one of the groups to come forward and sit in a group formation in front of the whole class. Join the group as a member. Instruct the group to begin the small group activity. Cue the group to interact and perform the functions and tasks that you are expecting of all the groups in the manner that you expect these behaviors/tasks/functions to be performed. Model group collaboration for maybe 3-4 minutes. Then, solicit feedback from the whole class on what they observed about the group's collaboration, etc. Then, have all students form their groups and get to work.

It will take some time out of your class period to do this, but you probably won't have to re-train your students the next time you have them work in small groups.

Shellee said...

It sounds as though you had a good experience with your first try. I have just the opposite problem. My students are so used to copying off of each other and talking amongst themselves, that trying to get them to do individual work is like pulling teeth sometimes. I like Jessie's idea of joining a group and modeling what you expect to happen. I think that gives the students an "okay" to get out of their comfort zone. Good luck with the rest of the unit. I know you will do a good job.

Teresa said...

Is it okay to comment on your own comments???? I took Jessie's advise and modeled how I wanted them to work in their group. I chose 2 students to help, they brought their work and textbook and we shared answers, discussed content and debated the finer points of the unit. It was GREAT!!! This took about 8 minutes but was invaluable as far as the lesson goes. I then monitored each group so that I could see their progress as well as how they were working together and communicating. They were even asking about the grading scale and had several excellent questions related to grading and student absences. It's so easy to know what you want the students to do, but to have them understand what you are wanting is a different aspect. Thanks Jessie for the advise, I'll definately keep this in mind when I assign group work the next time!