One way to start a new year (calendar or school), semester or chapter is to make a commitment and concerted effort to try something new. If you have not used teams consistently, make a commitment to do so. If you have not used team roles, try them. If you have not used a study team strategy, try one.
An easy place to start is with Reciprocal Teaching. Have each student find a partner (it could be their elbow partner or someone from another team). One member of each pair pretends that the other was absent and explains something that they learned today. Then have the partners switch roles. This is great for vocabulary review. When teaching someone else, students are able to consolidate their thinking.
You have established good classroom norms from the very beginning, but you must continue to revisit them throughout the year. Remember:
- Have a team member read the problems aloud to the team.
- Circulate. Circulate. Circulate.
- Face the class as much as possible when talking with a team. If it is a quick check-in, it is ok to have your back to the class, but if a team is going to need a minute of guidance, position yourself in such a way that you can still see the class.
- Get down at eye level to communicate.
- Talk to the whole team even if only one student appears to need help.
S Start promptly.
P Peer support expected within each team.
A Assignments due each day.
R Respond to teams rather than individuals.
C Circulate. Circulate. Circulate.