Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Group Work, Spring Break, and Missed Work

This post is covering several events, issues, and concerns that have come up in the classroom lately.

Group work:

In English 11 students are working on a short story group project.  Many student hate group work while others find it helpful. I built this project closely to this article called "Productive Group Work in Middle and High School Classrooms" by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher and Aida Allen. 

The article describes five principles that are needed for effective cooperative learning: 

1. Positive interdependence of group members such that they need to rely on
one another to solve the problem successfully—a sink-or-swim approach.
2. Face-to-face interaction to promote the personal investment group members
have in one another, both academically and as people.
3. Individual and group accountability focused on goals and outcomes, so
members are acknowledged for their individual contributions and their
ability to be collectively responsible for the results.
4. The teaching of interpersonal and small-group skills to foster the social and
academic skills needed to work together.
5. Group processing so members have opportunities to evaluate their products
and determine how they might improve the ways they work together.

Just a note to those who are absent/leaving early for Spring Break:
If you are absent during a group project, it is your RESPONSIBILITY to contact a group member that can catch you up. This is not only an assignment on short stories, it is a test of maturity. In college or the work force you must always stay in contact with your group/team.  If there is not contact your peers may use that as a mark on the peer evaluation. 

Spring Break: 
At the end of school on Friday, March 22nd, students and teachers alike begin the 2013 Spring Break. Notice I typed end of school on FRIDAY - I have lessons going through the end of school on Friday and want all those who are leaving early to realize I still expect projects and essays that are due Friday, to be turned in via email or another student on that day. If you do not turn in progressive assignments you will receive a ZERO. Please see the Language Arts Homework Policy handed out at the beginning of each course.

Missed Work: 
This website is very detailed and kept up to date with day-to-day assignments. DO NOT come to me before class and ask if we did anything while you were gone. CHECK THE WEBSITE. This is secondary school, and I teach courses offered to 10th-12th graders. All of which are capable of checking this website and staying up to date. So just a general answer to that question: "Yes, we learned and did assignments built to help students understand concepts discussed in class, check the website for what you missed."
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