For this assignment, we were assigned to team up with fellow Nousioneers and revise statements on group work communication. The purpose was to develop a list of expectations we could all agree on. Bob Heath, Heather Nice and I documented all of our work on Google Docs.
Overall, I enjoyed the collaborative piece of this assignment. It’s amazing to me how convenient Google Docs has become, especially in regards to group work. Thanks to its enhanced comments feature, we were allowed to dig deep into discussions about a particular phrase or concept. And thanks to the notifications feature on my smartphone and email, I never felt like I was out of the loop when Heather or Bob made comments or changes. For further communication during this assignment, we formed our own thread in Slack to talk about “big picture” stuff.
As far as the content of the assignment, I thought it was extremely valuable to analyze group work expectations. I think teachers often assign group work without setting the ground rules first – or having the students set the ground rules. Teachers often just expect students to know how to work with others. In my first three years of teaching, I have completely avoided giving group work in my middle school language arts classes (mostly from a classroom management standpoint). When I see other teachers give group work, it’s an absolute mess. This exercise, however, made me think I should be teaching students how to work with others. It’s a valuable skill that everyone should experience.
Below is the link to our Google Site that has links to two Google Docs: our process and our product.