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Accountability

Gallagher has a way of hitting the nail on the head. In Collaboration, he shows how accountability can be a huge factor in the success of groups. Hurray! I hate the idea that kids in small groups will some how magically morf together and great discussions will ensue just because you asked them to. Yeah, right. I have students get in small groups and produce some writing. The kicker is if one student wrote down all the "notes" from the group-this invariably is the girl; another student has to share results verbally and the other student has to write down summaries on the board. This works well for me b/c they know that everyone has to participate. Usually, it pulls kids out of their seat and into participation. I also love 10 strategies to promote higher level thinking. These are clear, easy to administer activities that I can see myself using in the classroom.

Comments

Kim, I too am always looking for ways to keep everyone responsible and tending to the literary work at hand. The idea of everyone being responsible for some piece of the recording or reporting is something that is so valuable and works for me also.
Lynn

Kim, I too am always looking for ways to keep everyone responsible and tending to the literary work at hand. The idea of everyone being responsible for some piece of the recording or reporting is something that is so valuable and works for me also.
Lynn

Groups are "ify" for me sometimes too. To focus discussion, their ticket to participate in a discussion group is written completion of the answers to the questions under discussion. I handout the questions the day before they are due. If they're not completed, they work solo and lose half the group participation points.

I consider creating effective collaborative learning groups to be one of the most important things I do in a writing/reading classroom, so I appreciated how chapter gave me more language to use to convince my students of the value of group work as well as many strategies to help them practice the kind of sharing, responding, questioning, engaging that happens in the best groups. Although Gallagher didn't say it, I think there is real value in making the same students stay in the same group over a significant period of time. They need to learn how to work together (and be evaluated on how they improve their group work).