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.
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
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.