Sharing my slice of life (#sol14) over at Two Writing Teachers.
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Working together can be hard. My students began book club groups yesterday. They met and planned strategies for success. My guidance was simple...think about groups you've been in already. What worked? What didn't? Use that to guide your rules & procedures for this group. As always, my sixth grade students impressed me with their mature and wise outlook on making a group work. As I read over their strategies, I think...if only we, as adults, could follow these suggestions. Here are some of my favorites:
My favorite in this list is "Be calm". That's a reminder for me when working in a group. As I read it, I wonder where that originated from...what happened to that student to motivate them to add that into their rules.
"Be kind"! So simple, yet so important to a functioning group! Also, "Stay serious when you're supposed to be" allows for laughter and fun...as long as the work's getting done. I love sixth graders!
Did you count the exclamation points? Haha!
"No meanies..." Yes! They were supposed to form all their rules in the positive, but I have to say that I like this one the way it is. It's clear and concise and effective.
As I read through their plans, I reflect on groups and teams I'm on and my part in them...the ones that work and the ones that don't. It's hard. Working with others, collaborating can be messy and difficult. I've had some painful experiences with teams lately. I've made some mistakes and some hurtful words were spoken. It took much soul searching to figure out what to do and how to make things work.
After these experiences, my goals for my students, in terms of group work, have changed this year. I want them to figure out what works for them and what doesn't. We will be doing lots of reflecting about how a group works and our part in it and what to do when people don't follow the rules. Collaborating, when it works, is powerful and when it doesn't, is painful. I want them to experience the power of success and work through the pain of failure...so when they are adults and in the world, they'll have the skills to find their way.