Q&A #6095

Homework teams & classroom groups

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From: Jeanne (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Apr 09, 2001 at 02:10:33
Subject: Re: Homework teams & classroom groups

Dear Ron, The questions you ask are questions asked by hundreds of teachers all over the country. The issues you bring up are faced by all of us regardless of how we choose to conduct our classes. There are many who would say, "Yes. It is more trouble than it is worth." There are many who would say, "No. It is not more trouble than it is worth." I am a member of the second group. I am a firm believer in the value teaching with small groups and the opportunities that small groups create for more students to be actively involved in their own learning. This is not to say that I don't lecture now and then or that I don't have days when my groups are just not working the way I want them to work. I do. It is helpful to be using a curriculum that is designed for small group instruction. As a high school teacher, I am familiar with three curricula that fits this requirement: College Preparatory Mathematics Program (CPM), Courses 1 through 4 and AP Calculus http://cpm.org/ ; Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP), Courses 1 through 4 http://www.mathimp.org/ ; and Discovering Geometry by Michael Serra (Key Curriculum Press) http://www.keypress.com/. And there are other curricula as well. The publishers of these three curricula see the need for staff development and offer training in teaching with the materials and of course, in teaching with small groups. It helps to have training in teaching with cooperative/collaborative groups. It helps to have training on how to teach kids what is meant by "working in groups." It helps to talk to teachers who are already usng small groups. From my experience this is a more efficient way of addressing your questions of assessment and grading, when to change groups, how to form groups, etc. It helps to see classrooms where the small groups are working well. Annenberg/CPB has a series called Teaching Math, A Video Library 9-12 which might be of interest to you. The offer free previews. http://www.learner.org/catalog/math/tm912/ Hope this helps. -Jeanne, for the T2T service

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