Gathering Student Data
When setting up heterogeneous teams during a demo week, it is important to have a clear picture of the students regarding their reading level, EL status and proficiency level, any extra services students may be receiving (ex. speech, resource, OT, counseling), medical or food issues, behavior or other concerns. When the classroom teacher has concerns about behavior issues, this information allows us as trainers to be proactive in addressing the concerns as well as implementing the three personal standards of the model (Make Good Decisions, Solve the Problem, Show Respect). Once a classroom has been selected to host the classroom demonstration, this template is emailed to the teacher at least four weeks in advance. The classroom teacher completes the template and returns it to the trainers. Set the return deadline for a week prior to the demo. in order to allow enough time to set up your heterogeneous teams.
Team Points Poster
Most often when we are training we use an assigned color to distinguish a team identity. This approach seems to work and it is an easy way to identify teams during a 4-day demonstration week. Once you have students placed in heterogeneous teams (using the templates and description just above), type the name of each student in their corresponding team color. For example, Suzy, Joey, Jackie, and Chris have been strategically placed together as a heterogeneous team. As the teacher, I have decided to identify this team as the “green team”. I would then type their names in a green font, print and attach to the Team Points Poster. Continue the process using various colors. Avoid using the colors black and yellow. As the teacher/trainer we reserve the color black for our use on various strategies such as editing a chart and yellow is difficult to see from a distance. You can always use a team name that has significant meaning/connection to the unit you are teaching. For example, the 4th grade unit California Industries addresses 5 industries within California: the agriculture industry, oil industry, entertainment industry, aerospace industry, and the defense industry. You can name each team based on an industry or even a California crop such as grapes, almonds, walnuts, etc.
Team Color (name) and Student Names
Using the template that you created for the team points poster (above), you can now print the same template on 8-½ x 11” paper. You already have your heterogeneous teams created, you have identified each team by name (color or something more specific), so it is as simple as changing the size of your template as well as the paper size. Once you have the template printed, place it in a sheet protector and hang it from one of the front desks within the team…in a location so you can visually see the names of the students in that particular team. As trainers, it is helpful to see the student names from the front of the classroom. We don’t always have all the names memorized prior to or even after the first day of training. We also give students name tags to wear. However, it is not always possible to see their name tag so the names hanging from the front of the team are a helpful reminder. On the first day of the classroom demonstration, we will meet the students outside of the classroom. We give a quick introduction and then set a few expectations so they know what to do when they enter the classroom. We write their name on the name tag in the same color as their team color. For example, Suzy would be written in green on the name tag. We then call each student from a specific team, hand the name tags to one student and instruct them to enter the classroom and look for their team color and names hanging from one of the desks within the team. They can select their seat, but it must be a seat within the assigned team. The student with the name tags then hands them out. As we go on to explain team points, the color of their portfolio, numbered heads, etc. we explicitly make the connection between the team name/color and importance of working together/collaboratively as a team and the success of the team depends on all members of the team. This along with many other strategies and team building activities are part of what it takes to create a positive learning environment that relies on positive interdependence.
Team Task Key
The Team Task Key is used at the introduction of Team Task. The team receives a ziplock bag hanging on a pant hanger. Inside the bag are the following: one copy of the Team Task Key template and 4 ink pens/4 different colors. The team circles (or writes at the top) their team name/color. Each student then selects an ink pen and writes their name on one of the lines in their selected color. As we continue the process of explaining team tasks, students are instructed that the only color they can use when working on a team task is the color they selected and used to write their name on the template. We share several examples of completed team tasks and point out the use of 4 different colors versus a team task completed in only 1 or 2 colors. We discuss accountability and that the expectation for each person on the team is to do their part. The ink color is an indication as to whether the team member contributed or still needs to contribute. If any ongoing accountability concerns are identified, then the trainer/teacher can meet with the team and do some reflecting and self/team evaluating so goals can be set and the team can make progress.
Team Task Menu
For many years when we were training, we would use a piece of paper, 11 x 17” and quickly sketch in front of the students the Team Task options. We would write the name of the task, make a quick sketch and then have students point to where the strategy was located in the classroom. We basically still do the same thing, however our twist is that we have a template that we complete in front of the students when introducing Team Task. We color-code strategies based on the day they are introduced , changing to a different color when new items are added on a different day. For example, on the first day of team task, we would write Pictorial (using a red marker) and draw a quick sketch in red. Next we would write Sequence of Documents (using a red marker) and draw a quick sketch in red. We will continue using the red marker for the strategies introduced on that day. As new items are introduced on a different day, we switch to a different marker, for example, green and we write the task/strategy all in green. This creates a visual of all the tasks, and also chunks the task as to when they were added to the menu.
Team Task Planning Template
When students begin the work of Team Task, the model’s goal is to practice the new learning as well as develop and practice social skills, cooperation, problem solving, communication skills, etc. As facilitators of the training and teaching, we have the opportunity to model planning strategies/skills that can benefit students in a variety of settings throughout life. Using this template we model the process of communicating prior to starting Team Task and deciding cooperatively who will start with which task. The team member writes their name next to the task they will start with. Once they are done with that specific task, they place the task in the center of the team and place a checkmark next to their name showing they have completed their portion of that particular team task. This is an opportunity to practice problem solving skills and social skills throughout Team Task. For example, if a team member needs a new task to work on, he/she can look at the planning template so they know what remains, who has what task, maybe 2 members of the team have the same task remaining, they can discuss how to resolve this issue, etc. It is not mandatory that a team use this template during Team Task. We model an example of how to use the template, brainstorm some ideas as to how it can benefit the team, but then we leave it up to the team to proceed with Team Task. The students can use it or they can develop their own plan for tackling Team Task. Some teams begin Team Task and never really discuss a plan for the team. This is also a learning opportunity and depending on the progress or lack of progress the team makes, a collaborative discussion can take place facilitated by the teacher/trainer.
Team Task Accountability Template
This template can be used to monitor the progress each team is making on their tasks. The teacher/trainer can print this template (whatever size works best for the teacher/trainer) and place it in a designated location in the classroom. Once a team has completed a task they place a checkmark under that task and in the same row as their team color. As an extension you can periodically have teams present one of their team tasks. Once they present they can circle the checkmark, indicating that they have completed the task as well as presented the task.
Inquiry Chart Templates
When completing the Inquiry Chart for the first time, teams are guided to put their heads together and discuss “What they think they know about …?” and “What they would like to know about…?” Guiding students to have this conversation with their team is the easy part. Getting students to remember what they are going to report out for their team is a little more challenging. We created this template to help with the process of reporting out on behalf of their team. This is another opportunity to practice communication, collaboration, and built-in accountability.
Once a team has discussed “What they think they know about…?” then a team member records their response on the template (template on 8 ½ x 11” paper, placed inside a sheet protector, a dry erase marker and napkin are also placed inside the sheet protector). As we move to each team, we pull a spoon with a number on it (1-4, Numbered Heads), the students have corresponding numbers on the corner of their desk. The spoon number that is pulled is the student that will report out for their team. The template can easily be passed to the student that is the reporter. This provides some guidance and reassurance as to what the team member will report out to the whole class. The response is then recorded (by the teacher/trainer) on the class Inquiry Chart.
We follow the same process on the right side of the chart “What would you like to know about…?”. Team members put their heads together, discuss the prompt and their responses, decide on a response, record it on the template and then wait for their team to be called on to respond. Once we are ready for a team to respond, we pull a spoon with a number on it, 1-2-3-4. The number pulled corresponds with a number on each student’s desk within that team 1-2-3-4. That particular student will then report out for the team reading the response (if needed for support) from the template. The teacher will record the response on the class Inquiry Chart.
– Jackie Villines & Suzette Berhorst