Friday, 9 March 2012

Team Themes and Jiminys

I've blogged before about how good sleep is for sorting out your ideas. I sat down last night to vent  in a post, some of my frustration with students' inabilty to work in teams. It obviously gave my brain the notice it needed to go on sifting and sorting my ideas while I slept. Such that, while prising my eyes open with a cup of coffee this morning, an image similar to that on the left drifted into my brain. What it told me was this: I was making the same mistake I've often accused students of making i.e. thinking of the technology as the subject of a project not the servant.
Teamwork is the context within which the task happens and the technology is just the toolkit we are using to achieve that - and not always the most appropriate toolkit. The dream diagram suggested that my Circletime idea was also correct vehicle for teaching about the context.
I wanted the teams of tudents to work together to create and record a story. Today in my single Year 6 ICT  lesson we kicked off with a contextualising activity based on circletime. We went round the circle with each child adding a sentence to the story started by a student volunteer. The sentences all had to begin "Yes, and". Nobody had any trouble thinking of something to add. We then threw the sponge ball around the circle to students with their hands up so they could fire off Good News/Bad News remarks about working in teams - Good News - You can work with your friends. Bad News you can work with people you don't like. An amazing number of pertinent observations about the joys and problems of teamwork were made in a very short space of time. After these two activities I explained that each week we would have a team theme and this week the theme was Staying Focussed. To help teams remember the theme each team appointed a "Jiminy" whose job was to remind the team to stay focussed when off-task behaviour was observed. Not an Enforcer, just a Jiminy.

Teams then went and sat together and generated a story outline verbally. When the team were statisfied with their plot they collected one laptop between two and divided into two groups; one recording the story on the template and the other suggesting ideas for using media to tell their story. Unlike the other groups this week they all finished the task before the end of the session and, as best I can judge, finished it well...
We gathered in a circle and the Jiminy's reported back how their team had got on. Their peer performance  assessments pretty much matched my own.

All in all it looks like my intuition was correct. I'll be using this model next week. I'll let you know how we got on.

Just one question niggles a little...
Am I teaching ICT here?