Teams vs. Groups
As mentioned before, a big classroom focus of mine this half term has been the promotion of team work and the development of the skills needed to do this. More than ever, I’ve been arranging for tasks and activities to be completed in mixed ability groups whenever I can. I started off with the mapping from memory task and I’ve re-used those original groupings. Since then, they’ve completed several activities in those groups. All the while though, almost unconsciously, I’ve been using the term ‘team’ as opposed to ‘group.’
The last big team project was to build a model of an Indian village house and attach a circuit to it with a working switch and lightbulb to light the hut up. Off the cuff, I told the children that they should think of a name for their team: Team _____. I found it funny to observe that the teams that were all girls (I have two thirds girls in my class) came up with names like Team Rainbow Sparkle, Team Best Stars and Team Starburst and the teams predominately made up of boys came up with Team Cheetah, Team Flapjack (a skateboarding move, don’t you know) and, my favourite, Team Lightning Force! I don’t think gender stereotypes are completely dead just yet! However, I really feel that something seemingly small like calling the groups ‘teams’ and asking them to come up with a team name pulled each group together and also created a healthily competitive atmosphere in the classroom. The quality of the huts were beyond my expectations and the children really took ownership of their team’s model. I’ll definitely be doing this again.