Saturday, August 23, 2008

Group work skill builders

We are doing a major overhaul of our Algebra 1 and 2 program this year, and one of the elements we will be working on is increasing the use of complex instruction.

To be successful at this type of learning, students must be able to work effectively in groups - which is something that does not come naturally to most students. The designers of complex instruction have a set of skill builder activities that can be used to teach students how to accomplish group tasks. If you plan on doing any sort of group work, you should definitely check out the link and read through the activities.


Jackie Ballarini said...


I agree that students don't know how to work effectively in groups. That takes intervention by the teacher. Just putting desks in groups of four does not mean good group work will occur.

Thanks for the link. I can't wait to hear the details of your "overhaul".

H. said...

Great. Five colleagues and I met just this week to coordinate our group work procedures, and this timely post is appreciated. Also eager to hear how this goes - and to try it out myself.

Dan Wekselgreene said...

No problem. I'll definitely post about them as I use them. We are going to use Broken Circles in Algebra 1 and Island Maps in Algebra 2 on the first day.

Just a side note - teachers who have done complex instruction say that it is critical to do these skill builders before attempting actual group tasks that focus on math content. So I plan on doing a few in the first few weeks. They take a while to put together (what with all the copying on different colors, laminating, cutting, sorting, etc.) but since we are all doing them this year, we can make class sets and then share them. Which is nice, because it probably took me 2 hours to put Island Maps together today.