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Turn Your Class Into a Team

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    Sarah Norris

Educational equity at the classroom level requires consciously designed routines and processes to ensure achievement outcomes aren't predictable based on social or cultural factors. We know we can't just say "it's time for group work: go!" and assume that all students in all groups will derive the maximum learning benefit from their interactions. We can, though, teach students what inclusion looks like in self-managed time like group work, and use structures that build student agency as well as content knowledge.

In an EdWeek blog post bursting with linked resources, Open World Learning Community and 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Megan Olivia Hall writes about how to make group work truly inclusive and meaningful. 

She offers three ideas from the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) SEL Fellows cohort:

Begin With the Basics

  • seating arrangements
  • class norms
  • acknowledgement of student contribution to the classroom community

Group Worthy Tasks

  • Using open-ended tasks
  • Assigning clear roles

Student Responsibility for Learning

  • After establishing norms for inclusivity, moving from assigning teams and roles to teaching students how to do so in ways that support their own learning

Read much more of Megan's blog here

For videos and other how-to resources, see EL Education's PD Pack on Collaborative Culture: Establishing NormsGroup Work, and Academic Talk.