This teaching tool helps me structure individual accountability and appropriate participation.
Leigh Ann showed this and I use it everyday: I made little laminated pictures of my students with magnets taped onto the back for use on my regular magnetic whiteboard for anything that needs immediate organization and constant access/viewing throughout the day. Using an Interactive Whiteboard Flip Chart would be great too but this is quick and easy.
Today I asked my students to think about and discuss what skills they had that would compliment others individually, in partnerships or in a small group to work begin an inquiry together. They spent little time thinking and jumped straight to deciding who to work with. They also seemed not so happy. REWIND.....
I quickly put their magnetic photos together for Inside Outside Circles. I asked the green partner to tell their red partner one subject specific skill they felt their red partner had which would benefit the inquiry. I then asked the red partner to do the same. The green circle then moved one position clockwise. We repeated the process a few times. I then asked the green partner to share with their red partner one social skill which they felt their red partner had which would benefit the inquiry process. I asked red partners to do the same and repeated the process a few times again. This all took about 10 minutes.
This allowed each person to be direct and focused. Plus each person provided and received valuable information about their own skills and a the skills of potential inquiry partners.
Students were then able to quickly make independent informed choices about how they wanted to group themselves. My only requirement was that were aware and made final decisions with sensitivity and act with compassion if others were alone and were not intending to work individually. The looks on their faces were of satisfaction and happiness.
I learned this from Classroom Management: A Thinking & Caring Approach (1994) by Barrie Bennett & Peter Smilanich
ProDivas is a simple sharing approach, teacher to teacher, for our professional development. We collect and share bite-sized practical ideas. Once you take a bite, you may be self-motivated to eat the whole meal! We aim to find ideas supported by research to then apply for “best practice” but some ideas are too good to miss and are just simple “teacher tips”.