Teams in My Classroom:
Everything is based on team roles from the beginning to the end of class. For teams I use the six colors of the rainbow; Team 1: blue, Team 2: green, Team 3: yellow, Team 4: orange, Team 5: red, Team 6: Purple. I have six teams of four students. Each team has a: Team Member (A), Team Member (B), Team Member (C), and Team Member (D).
How I Choose Teams:
I do something really crazy that no teacher at my school is willing to attempt. #1) The students change teams every week. 2) I use random selection to determine their team each week.
Random selection has by far been the most productive for student learning in my class. It is fairly simple to implement. I have 4 colored beads for each team, and a clipboard with the class roster.
These are the beads I use for random selection:
Every Monday, I stand at the door and as the students walk in I hand them a bead and mark on my clipboard what color they received. They look at the bead color and go to that team. They may sit anywhere in that team. The whole process is done before the bell rings.
The students really like changing seats every week and working with different students. They look forward to Mondays, and anxiously wait in line for their bead to see what team they will be in for the week.
The Beginning of Class Procedure:
When the students come in the room I have a slide on the screen that has the "Word of the Day", and what team member is "Resource Manager".
My Team Roles:
Resource Manager: This role changes every day and is a fairly simple procedure. Monday: Team Member (A), Tuesday: Team Member (B), Wednesday: Team Member (C), Thursday: Team Member (D), Friday: Team Member (A).
The resource manager is responsible for getting the team supplies. Not only at the beginning of class, but throughout the class as well. If the team decides they need rulers, or calculators, then the "Resource Manager" is the one that gets up and gets the materials. The "Resource Manager" is also responsible for putting all of the supplies away at the end of class. I like this because there should only be 6 people out of their seats throughout the period.
Recorder/Reporter: This role rotates throughout the lesson. I use this team role when I want the team to have more discussion and I don't think everyone needs to write the problem down.
The "Recorder/Reporter" writes the problem on the Team Whiteboard. The team discusses and solves the problem together. The "Recorder/Reporter" is doing what the team says to do on the team whiteboard and report out to the class. This role rotates around each team member throughout the lesson. Each student will do this role multiple times. This is a great strategy for the students who struggle with a concept, because they are not doing the problem themselves, they are listening and recording what the team is telling them to do.
Here is an example of the type of problem I would use with "Recorder/Reporter".
Here is an example of the type of problem I would use with "Team Mathematician".
Student Teacher: This role also rotates throughout the lesson. In this role the "Student Teacher" has a mini whiteboard and teaches the given problem to the team. They are required to use academic vocabulary in their explanation and explain it step by step.
Here is an example of the type of problem I would use with "Student Teacher".
Task Manager: This role changes for each team task. The "Task Manager" is responsible for getting the team task started. They are responsible for making sure "Team Mathematician" is doing their role when it is their turn. "Task Manager" is responsible for making sure that the team is following along and on task. Every member needs to be involved in the discussion and on the same question. The "Task Manager" makes sure that task is completed.
Here is a copy of the Team Roles I used for the student's notebooks: Team Roles
The purpose of my teams and team roles is to have all students involved in all aspects of my lessons on a daily basis. Structuring my teams with this format requires the students to be involved regularly.
The students love working in teams, and know what my expectations are during all aspects of class. I am merely a "Facilitator" in a student centered environment. They have realized how much more they are learning through the discussion and working together as a team.
Here is a copy of a letter I received from a student: