I’m slightly obsessed with alliteration, and I really want my group work/centers to be successful this year. Keeping those two things in mind I created a system that I hope will be really beneficial for group work this year. Yesterday I described the trays I use as notebooking supply stations. On these trays I’ve taped four numbers, and each of the four numbers is a different color. The numbers are how I give new seats and randomly call on students. The colors are for group jobs. I also have a poster in the front of my room with job titles and colored arrows that match the colors on the tray numbers. I rotate the arrows each morning. As you can see from the photo my job titles are Discussion Director (I feel like I stole this from lit circles), Class Communicator, Inquiry Investigator, and Materials Master. Since I had all these alliterative titles, I felt like Group Job Titles just wasn’t cutting it. So that’s why I’m calling them my Group Gigs.
Check out the pics of the colored numbers on the trays –
This student is essentially the leader of the group. He or she will always go first, and lead the discussion. He or she will also make sure all group members have completed their task before moving on. I also am going to have the Discussion Director go first when playing games or centers.
This student will report group findings to the entire class. So after they’ve had time to work in groups, when we bring it back to the whole class, the Class Communicator will share his or her groups’ answers or decisions. (This prevents the same person from always sharing).
This student’s job is all about questions. It’s almost like he or she is the group liaison with the teacher. If the group has a question, the Inquiry Investigator seeks me out to ask the question. Then he or she will report back to the group. Also if I’m checking in on groups while they are working, the Inquiry Investigator is responsible for telling me how the group is doing. This is different from the class communicator. The Inquiry Investigator communicates just with me, not with the whole class.
The student who is the Materials Master is in charge of making sure all the supplies get back into the tray. He or she is also responsible for letting me know if materials need to be replaced. The Materials Master is the only student who has a job every day. If we’re not doing group work for some reason the other three get the day off.
I designed these groups so that each student would have some accountability. I’m really looking forward to implementing them. To introduce the jobs to the students we created a page in their notebooks with Gig Descriptions. I had students copy me, and we wrote down what each Gig “Does” and “Does Not”. We discussed each job and several scenarios. We also spent some time talking about what “Inquiry” means.
Here’s what I had the students put in their notebook…
Say you give your students 5 problems to work on in groups. Everyone would start working on the problems 1 by 1. When the Discussion Director notices everyone has completed the first problem he says “I got 17 for problem one. Did anyone else get a different answer?” They all agree except for one person. That student explains why her answer is correct. Now the group cannot decide who is right. They send the Inquiry Investigator to me so I can check their work. They move onto the next problem. Meanwhile I’m checking with another group’s Inquiry Investigator to see what his group got for problem 1. After I’ve given the groups time to finish the five problems, and I’ve checked in with every Investigator, I bring the whole class back together. I start by asking group 1’s Class Communicator to share their findings for problem 1, ask the other Communicators if they got the same or different answer, and then continue to check answers. At the end of the class I remind the Materials Master to check the supply tray and report any issues to me.
How do you use group jobs in your classroom? Hopefully you can use some of my ideas here, but feel free to adjust for your needs.