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When students are asked to work in groups, they may not know what good teamwork looks like. Like anything in the writing classroom, models can help them understand how to collaborate effectively. The challenge is modeling the process for them. I can demo any number of writing strategies as well as provide step-by-step instructions on technology questions. Modeling group work, however, is not a one-person job.
Pop culture to the rescue! The infographic to the right analyzes the teamwork strategies of six pop culture teams. It describes the team, identifies the team members, outlines their strategies, and suggests some debriefing notes. It is long and detailed, so you need to click the image to read the full-sized image or view the original on the Inloox site.
As students begin working together in their writing groups, I share the infographic above and ask them to compare their own teams to those in the infographic. I invite them to respond to these discussion questions:
- How accurate are the characterizations of the teams in the infographic? Would you change them?
- Does your team match any of those in the infographic? How well does the infographic team compare to your team? Tell us how.
- How do the characteristics of teams in the infographic relate to those in the readings for this week?
After discussing the infographic, I ask students to brainstorm a class list of other pop culture groups that they are familiar with. If they have trouble getting started, I offer some examples of television shows that feature a team of characters that works together to meet a goal, like NCIS, S.W.A.T, or SEAL Team. If students need additional inspiration, I throw out some categories like teams in anime, teams in movies, and teams in literature.
With a list compiled, the class can talk about how the various teams compare to those in the infographic and hypothesize why some groups are more successful than others. The ultimate goal is to find teamwork strategies that students can use as they work together, so I close the discussion by asking students to create a list of techniques to use in their own groups.
As an extension activity, students can apply their list of strategies by working in groups to choose a team from the class list and collaboratively design an image that presents the team, modeled on the infographic.
Do you have an activity to improve student group work? Please share your ideas in a comment below. I’d love to try your strategies in the classroom.
Infographic from InLoox
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