This has been an awesome month of school. It is really flying by, and as we do final edits of our Credo essays, I'm already making some adjustments to the seating to get ready for our next unit on short stories. I want students in smaller groups, so I'm adding another area. Instead of having four distinct parts of the room, I've just rearranged things so that I can have a fifth as well. I spent awhile today breaking each class into groups. This time it is by hunch, as I try to balance academic ability, leadership skills, and collaboration style. I'm looking forward to the change, but I'm sure a few students will be hesitant to be assigned seating after these few weeks of freedom, but I'm confident I can help them build community and trust in their small groups.
Students have been assigned a group letter (A-E). Each group will start in one Quad on Monday and rotate each day through all five sections. Yes, I'm aware a quad is only four, but we've used that language, so we are going with a 5th Quad. We'll all suffer the irony together. This way, no one group gets the "choice" section, though there really isn't a strict preference. It will also help students see how they learn best. Today was a bit odd because I had to teach the most traditional of all lessons--how to use commas to combine sentences and prevent run-on's. The kiddos not at tables had clipboards, they were still attentive, and I feel good about their participation as well. It just seemed odd to teach something so 1950's in my progressive style room. As I explained to the kiddos though, it is crucial to always present your best self, and grammatically correct sentences aren't optional. And, BTdubbs, neither is capitalizing the letter i. They've been warned!