FEATURES FOR TEACHERS
Ideas and Features For New Teachers and Veterans with Class
Volume 1, Issue 10
The business world tells us that they want people who are good at collaboration. Being that our job is to prepare the students for the future, this skill should become part of what we teach in the classroom.
Planning and preparation are key to getting your groups underway. The first thing to do as you prepare to use group work as part of the learning process is to setup your groups. Never allow the students to set up the groups; you are only inviting disaster. There are many ways to set up groups. I like to spread the abilities out among the groups. The smartest student isn’t always the one who can lead the group through to a conclusion. I also like to mix boys and girls up in the groups. They tackle problems from different ways, so it enhances the learning taking place. Also, change the groups after every section, so they learn to work with different people. This makes it a more real world experience.
going to have it go longer, the group should be at least three to four students. The reason for this is the fact that what is the group going to do if the next day one of the students isn’t there? With three or four students you will at least have a group of two or three to continue on if someone is missing.
As you begin the groups, realize the students may not know how to work in a group. This is something that we as teachers shouldn’t take for granted. Talk about using listening skills, the fact that only one person is speaking at a time. Explain that arguing doesn’t solve anything. They must learn, when there are differences of opinion, to share why they feel the way they do and support it with reasons. We also talk about the importance that everyone be a participant in the group process. Another thing I tell the groups is that they are not to ask me, the teacher, a question until they’ve talked about it in the group. If the group can’t answer the question, then I will gladly help them out as a group. This fosters dependence on their group.
I like to call this the “Driving Question”. This is what they are to be focusing on as they work together. Decide what you want them to learn, set the goals, and then communicate to the students your expectations.
In conclusion, from observation and research that collaboration (group work) when used properly can be an excellent learning tool. I hope you will find using this learning tool as stimulating and rewarding as I have, both for the students and yourself.
The second part of this article will detail more of the 'nuts & bolts' of getting your groups underway, and describe a few example projects you can use in class.
We use the journal
writing style for several applications in class.
The number one goal of mine is to provide students with a place
to record their thoughts and to reflect on their lives.
I also advocate writing activities that can (and should) be done
on a daily basis. I really
believe students need to write a lot and often; they become better
writers with a lot of practice. You
can't expect students to be good at writing if they only write a few
times each month or marking period.
But I also don't believe students need to formally write essays
each time either. Journaling
is one way to break up the monotony of the formal style.
is a very easy and fun activity that gives the students ownership of the
journal. Pass out ten or so pieces of regular lined paper to each
student. I always
keep a basket of lined paper at the front and back of my room anyway, so
students can add pages to their journal at any time they need.
Then pass out colored construction paper for the front and back
covers. Each student
receives three fasteners to hold it all together.
A suggestion is to NOT punch holes in the covers, as the fastener
heads sometimes slip through, and the journals can fall apart.
I allow the students to decorate their covers with anything, as
long as it's tasteful and appropriate for school.
Students must be
given the freedom of choosing their own topics if they wish.
However, I always provide a topic for the students to use if they
are unable to generate their own ideas.
Students are allowed to use my topic, or to change any part of
it. I'll share a few of my
classroom journal topics in the follow up to this article.
Any idea can be changed into a journal topic - I usually add a
few guiding questions for students to consider when making their
Some students also
enjoy writing on the same topic for more than one writing session.
I even have some students who are writing stories, and complete
chapters or stanzas during class time.
They may take a break once in a while and write on a different
topic, but they usually end up back at their story.
So what are the
rules for a journal write? Basically
you get to decide! Just
keep them consistent and students will know what you expect within the
first few writes. In my
class, students are allowed to choose the genre, such as poetry, drama,
or prose. They are
encouraged to try out different styles.
journaling is actually a form of active brainstorming, I don't worry
about complete sentences, spelling, or mistakes in grammar or mechanics.
These are the guidelines we use, but you can feel free to adjust
them to suit your class and needs.
In the follow up article, I will explain the easy grading system that is set up to MINIMIZE the amount of teacher work. This stress-free system allows your students to write more and write often, without the massive paper stack for you to grade at home. I'll also provide some of my sample topics to get you started.
In This Week's Issue
(Click the Quick Links below):
Don’t be just a Guest! Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, delivered right to your inbox! FREE tips, ideas, and articles.
takes as much stress to be a success as it does to be a failure."
(Click to access our website)
THE PLACE FOR ALL TEACHERS!
Do you have a great TEACHING TIP or ACTIVITY to share?
Are you using an innovative TECHNIQUE in your class?
Have you created WRITING PROMPTS that you’d like to add to our WEEKLY CALENDAR?
We welcome, and are always looking for teachers to share successes, stories, and ideas with our readers.
Submit an article to this newsletter by emailing:
Orclick the following link:
All articles will be proofread, and may be edited for content and/or length.
10 days of writing prompts
Are there other teachers in your district who would enjoy this FREE newsletter delivered to them bi-weekly?
YOU could qualify for FREE offers when referring others.
See our website for more special offers and details.
Job Finding Part 3
Technology & Teaching: Setting up for Handhelds
Group Work Part 2
Building Positive Relationships
Journal Writing Part 2
Keeping Busy in the Summer
Website design by Carrie's Creations Inc. ©2005