Last Friday, I assigned a collaborative assignment to be completed in class by my students via Google Classroom. None of them finished it, so I assigned it for homework. None of them finished it then, either.
Today in class, we had an honest discussion about why the work wasn’t done. I told them that it was a no-blame situation, and that we would brainstorm ways to make things run more smoothly in the future.
Students provided the following reasons, among others:
- They are not used to the technology.
- They are not used to working in groups.
- It was hard having group homework on a weekend.
They were totally right. It is still the beginning of the year, and I have completely uprooted my previous practice of having them work solo. And to be quite honest, it really wasn’t fair of me to assign group work on a weekend, particularly at the beginning of the year. If I were in the class, I
probably definitely would have dropped the ball, too.
So, I told them that we all learned something, and that we would cut each other some slack this first time. I gave them an extra day to work on the assignment in class with no penalty, and said that I’d try not to assign weekend homework (especially group work) anymore.
Third Period took the assignment very seriously. Every now and then, I had to tell a few people to focus, but for the most part, they were extremely diligent. One student even discovered the sharing feature on Google Drive to help them work faster, and more efficiently. At that moment, she became the hero of the class.
Fourth Period, since there are more students, there was a little more confusion. Most of them got the work done, but I noticed that one of the groups was very slow to start. I had to constantly come by their table to cue them to begin. They claimed they had it under control, but by the end, they were panicked and rushing like I knew they would be. One member volunteered to come up for lunch and finish the assignment. This raised a red flag to me. I asked if anyone else was coming with him, but he volunteered to come up alone.
When he came up, he was very loyal to his team. I asked him if he was doing all the work (which I could tell that he was). He told me that other group members had contributed; however, I had witnessed them being off-task. He wasn’t able to finish the entire assignment during lunch time.
I went to the students’ Fifth Period class and had a quick conversation in the hall with the captain, and told him that everyone on his team needs to pull their own weight. I asked him to reinforce that to the squad, and gave him a heads up about this awesome grading system that I learned about this weekend. In it, group members self-assess for the most fair result. I think I’ll create a Google Form to help facilitate this process. If anybody has a script, that would work even better. Can you even do scripts on forms? #PLN, I may need backup 😀
In the meantime, fumble…recovered!!!