Independently choosing Learning Teams from now on
If you have checked out our Collaboration page, then you know about how our teams work in my classes, if not, here is a quick summary.
That was a brief summary. Now for some change in practice.
To begin with I am in charge of how teams are constructed and I choose the combinations of students so there is a constant mix of gender and ability. I do this for the first two terms.
At the end of last term, each team member completed a personal reflection sheet on how they saw themselves with their organisation and team skills so far. They rated themselves either Never, Sometimes or Always, then shared their reflections with the team. The team discussed each member’s in turn and negotiated their placement with a T in the category.
On the first day back for term three, I asked the students what qualities/skills/behaviours they thought they would like to see in a team member. They came up with a comprehensive list.
I asked them to compare this list and to look back at their own checklist from the previous term.
Were there things they were super confident in? Were there some things they needed to work on or could put extra effort into? Were there some things they were struggling with? Did we have perfect students?
How could we support everyone to become the best they could be?
I was now in the process of handing over the negotiating of team members to them.
Criteria for selection
Not with someone from the previous team.
Select a member from the opposite gender that you can work with. Once you have a pair, find another to make a team.
Have three things that you will support each other with. How will you do that? Record this in your team books.
Reminder about the language of negotiation.
It was important to model the process of asking and negotiating. Being proactive as opposed to waiting. What happens when you don’t get the answer you thought you would? What could you do?
Once that was completed the students found their record books and team books and begun sorting out their new teams for weeks 1-5.
It was interesting to see them take control. They were a little hesitant at first, but as some modelled actively seeking out suitable team mates and sitting down to compare checklists, others soon followed. There were some students who forgot to bring their lists and couldn’t complete this stage, so by default, they became team members and could sit down to sort out their support strategies.
Teams could also select any table, should it still be available.
Once they had completed their recordings, they set about writing a common set of rules. We have been working on being clear in statements saying what, why and how we want things. They are really becoming good at this.
Checkout this round of team rules. I love the variety and explicit nature of their expectations.
Once the rules have been negotiated and recorded, they proceed to the regular morning tool check. As it is the first one of the week, they also choose a focus for the week again being clear as to what, why and how.
These children have come a long way from their first attempts at this process and continue to build their skills in actively listening and engaging in collaborative team work. I was very proud of them on the first day back.
Your turn to think
How did you feel about selecting your own team this term?
What do you think about your new team?
How will you make sure you do what you said you would do?
Would you prefer Ellen to create teams? Why? Why not?
D you have any suggestions for teams or team work?
What type of team criteria would you like to see?