Monday, August 22, 2016

Individual/Group/Class Norms Revised

In my previous post, I wrote about my updated group norms. But then, I got some great feedback in the form of comments, a few Twitter conversations, and a post by Sarah on her updated groupwork norms... damn you, MTBoS with your feedback, always making me want to change stuff to make it better.

I decided to break up my groupwork norms into three components:

  1. Individual accountability
  2. Group accountability
  3. Class accountability
Here is the poster for each set of norms.

Finally, I made a poster for the green/yellow/red cup strategy Avery uses in his middle school classes. I went back and forth a bunch of times to see if this was perhaps not going to work in high school, especially if students are usually working on whiteboards around the room rather than sitting at a desk, and if there was maybe a way to do this electronically, but eventually, decided to just do it the same way that Avery does it and then make changes, if needed.

The idea is that each group starts with a stack of three cups, with green on top, yellow in the middle, and red on the bottom.

If the group feels stuck or confused, they should move the green cup to the bottom of the stack. The yellow cup is a sign to the group to discuss their confusion together and try to get themselves unstuck using the various strategies we've discussed or by checking in with other groups. 

If they have discussed and tried to get themselves unstuck, but were not successful, then they come up with a single group question that every member of the group needs to be able to articulate, and can switch their cups so that the red one is on top, at which point a teacher will come over and ask a random member of the group what their question is.

Avery's selling points for me were:
  • The yellow cup is an important step to prompt students to reflect on their confusion as a team and get better at the "unsticking" process that is such an important part of productive struggle.
  • There is a clear visual for the teacher in scanning the room where groups are at and which might need attention soon (currently at yellow).
  • You can hear cups switching so without even looking, have a sense of group need.
  • The proportion of the time that various cups are on top gives you valuable information regarding the challenge level of the task you've given students that day. Ideally, cups are changing back and forth between green and yellow as groups become puzzled and then figure things out on their own.
Here's a poster summarizing this for students:

As always, feedback and suggestions for improvement are welcome!

1 comment:

  1. I love the poster explaining the cups! The wording is fantastic.