From Group Projects to Team Tasks

Shawn Parks
Eighth-grade language arts teacher, Lockerman Middle School, Caroline County, Maryland

I have had my eighth-grade students working in groups for over a decade and have long been a proponent of its impact on learning. But by using mini-lessons to teach specific key concepts, and turning the work over to the teams, I have been able to witness how students take responsibility for their own learning. The discussions are rich and tend to be based on more complex ideas than when I originally gave students a task to merely complete together. This, my 26th year of teaching, has been my best! I am enthusiastic about getting to school to watch my students progress toward not only my goals for them, but the goals that they have set for themselves.

Source: Toth, M.D., & Sousa, D.A. (2019). The power of student teams: Achieving social, emotional, and cognitive learning in every classroom through academic teaming (p. 57). West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences International.