Often students start off the school year following your expectations and working well together, but you may find that about the third or fourth time new teams are formed they lose their focus. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but recognizing and responding to this right away is important. It may help you to know that this is a normal part of the use of teams in the classroom and that when a class works through this issue collaboratively the teams become even more effective.
To help reinforce team expectations this week, do a challenging team assessment that really pushes students to discuss the mathematics in order to succeed. This is also a good time for another Participation Quiz to help re-state your expectations and to give positive reinforcement to the teams that are showing commitment to working effectively and following class norms.
The following behaviors are characteristic of successful teams. They:
- Share ideas in the middle of the table.
- Give reasons for statements.
- Rearrange the seating so that everyone can see.
- Make sure everyone understands or agrees before moving on.
- Expect participation from all team members.
- Persist even when stuck.
- Take risks, such as suggesting ideas even when they are not sure the ideas will work.
- Ask questions of the entire team (instead of asking just some teammates or the teacher directly).
- Ask the teacher only team questions. (Resource Manager calls the teacher over.)
- Get off to a quick start. (Facilitator ensures that the task is read out loud.)
- Do not talk outside the team. (Task Manager steps in to remind teammates to not talk outside team.)