Group Classroom Activities: Some Things to Keep in Mind

by Diana George

All group activities should have two purposes very obvious to your students:

1)    They should relate to a specific lesson you are teaching that day;

2)    They should be relevant to the work students will eventually turn in for you.

Group Discussion

Some simple rules:

  • Students do not have to agree (consensus and dissensus)
  • Students should have a very particular set of directions to follow and a specific goal
  • Always a time limit on discussion that allows the entire class to come back together and talk.
  • Class should never end in the middle of groups having discussions

Collaborative Projects

You are likely to assign one of two kinds of collaborative projects in a writing class: collaborative writing; group presentation.

  • As much as possible, make collaborative projects do-able and students responsible to each other.
  • In a group presentation, you ought to be able to get a sense of who has done what; you can also ask groups to write a report on the process.
  • With group writing projects, I usually limit collaboration to two people. Three makes it difficult to keep the group from relying on one responsible member.
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