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Student Page 1.2.2 Good Group Work (Also from Week 1 of Inspirational Math)

If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.

―African Proverb

Before you work on math together, complete this activity. Use the cooperative learning strategy, Roundtable, to generate ideas.


Each team uses a single sheet of paper.

The team member closest to the classroom door writes down an idea, states it out loud, and passes the paper to the left.

Other group members may ask for clarification but may not critique the idea.

Continue until time is called.

This activity will help improve group interactions. Teachers who have tried this activity have been pleased by students' thoughtful responses and found students' thoughts and words helpful in creating a positive and supportive environment. Use Roundtable to reflect on things you like people to say or do in a group when you are working together. After you have thought of and written down a few of the ideas, use Roundtable to reflect on things you don't like people to say or do when you are working in a group.

Some important ideas students generally share include: Let everyone share their ideas, share different ways to solve a problem, listen when others speak, don't give away the answer, don't rush through the work, and don't ignore other people's ideas.

When the class has finished brainstorming, share ideas on a “What we like” poster with each group contributing at least one idea. Do the same for a “What we don't like” poster. Post the final posters in class as the agreed upon classroom norms; refer back to them throughout the course, as needed. Don't include negative comments such as, “I don't like waiting for slow people,” instead discuss the issue.