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Developing group norms

September 4, 2019

It’s really important to set a good tone in math class, and that’s why this week we are focused on collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Today’s task sounds simple, circling all the numbers in order from 1 to 100 on a handout.

Students all worked diligently, but found the task a bit frustrating, as the numbers are not presented in order, and they are all different sizes. After 10 minutes nobody had finished the task.

We then looked at the same task in groups, to see the benefits of working together.

groups were very focused, and got close together. Some helped point out the next number, or said numbers out loud to keep everyone on track.

Words were encouraging and celebratory. Excitement was in the air as numbers got circled faster and faster. Groups noticed that the colours were all in zones, so different strategies were devised.

Groups eliminated extra furniture, stood up, and got pumped to do the fastest round possible.

The individual round was slow. Nobody finished in 10 minutes. By the end, after practice, teamwork, and strategizing, groups finished the task in 2 minutes!

We made lists of what good group work looks like, sounds like, and feels like, and then shared our lists with the class. We have now co-constructed our expectations for group work in math class.

Grade 10s did a similar activity, but rather than numbers, their sheet had expressions that equalled the numbers.

The process was similar.

The grade 10s were primed for this because they remembered what we did last year, so they knew to look for patterns, and they already had some pretty good group work skills that we have been practicing all through grade 9.

Tomorrow we will see some group work in action!

Here are our group norms we came up with

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