Good Friends Unit of Work
Erskineville Public School, Kindergarten, October - November, 2008
PDHPE: Interpersonal Relationships: Good Friends
IRES1.11- Identifies how individuals care for each other
Identifies people they can trust
Talks about their family and who cares for them
Recognises the need to share and cooperate with others
Demonstrates active listening skills, questioning and recalling of information when interacting with others
Demonstrates the skills involves in giving and receiving messages
Talks about feelings experienced in particular situations
Lists ways of showing kindness to others
Good Friends Think!
Students think about how others feel and think
Activity: labelling faces with emotions
Activity: role plays
Grouping Strategy: friendship grouping
Good Friends Listen!
Showing students that good friends are good listeners
Activity: demonstrating bad listening
Activity: discussing body language
Activity: Chinese whispers
Grouping Strategy: mixed (ability, gender, friendship, personality)
Good Friends Say…
Reminding students of things that good friends say
Activity: happy and sad pictures
Activity: scenario cards discussion
Activity: Musical Pairs
Good Friends Work Together!
Showing students the benefits of working together
Activity: picking up challenges
Activity: Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car, John Birmingham
Activity: building towers in teams
Grouping Strategy: gender
Critical Reflection on Student Grouping
The Good Friends Unit of Work allowed me to develop my strategies for implementing student group structures as appropriate to address teaching and learning goals. Within the unit of work, I explored various methods for grouping the students including friendship grouping, heterogenous grouping based on typical student behaviours, grouping based on social development, and gender-based grouping, whilst carefully considering the students and how they learn. When planning the lessons and the group structures for the activities, I needed to consider a range of factors including the social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds that effect the learning of the students (Aspect 2.1.1); the social and intellectual characteristics of the students, both specific to their age groups and individually (Aspect 2.1.2); the knowledge of the students’ varied approaches to learning (Aspect 2.1.3); the knowledge of how students’ skills, interests and prior experiences affect learning (Aspect 2.1.4); and the knowledge of strategies addressing the different needs of the students (Aspect 2.1.5).
I used group activities in all of the lessons within the unit as it gave the students a part of the lesson to take ownership of their learning and remove the control from me as the teacher. I felt that the students responded well to the opportunity for group tasks in each of the lessons and the classroom learning environment changed from one that was discriminatory to one that included all students, where emphasis was on diversity rather than uniformity.
I gave the students the opportunity to ‘get themselves into small groups’ and, not surprisingly, this resulted in friendship groups. This method of grouping was not appropriate for this particular activity as the students did not engage in effective learning. They were off-task and a great deal of behaviour management needed to be implemented. This was a great learning experience for me as the nature of the task required a very different method of grouping the students from the one I implemented.
For this activity the students worked in pairs and small groups. After reflecting on the previous lesson, for this task I considered the friendship groups, the social development of each of the students, the skills and knowledge of the students, and their approaches to learning. After careful consideration and discussion with my coordinating teacher, I grouped the students into mixed-personality groups whilst considering the various behaviours of the students. This grouping strategy was very effective and all students were engaged and appeared to really enjoy the task. By mixing up the various friendships and personalities, and placing mature and effective learners with students who are present behaviour difficulties and who are easily distracted, the opportunity to get off-task was significantly reduced.
In the group activity in the fourth lesson the students were required to work together collaboratively to build towers using blocks. In the third lesson I noted that many of the boys were not engaged in the some of the learning tasks which made me consider possible reasons for this disengagement. After reflecting on the last lesson, for this next group task I wanted to create the groups based around gender to try and address this disengagement. In this particular activity, this method of grouping was very effective and the boys were more engaged in the task, although it is difficult to determine whether it was due to the nature of the task or the grouping structure itself. The grouping also naturally lent itself to friendship groups, and in comparing this lesson to the first lesson, if the nature of the task is appropriate, friendship grouping can be successful. This was an interesting discovery and great to experience firsthand.
This unit of work gave me the opportunity to incorporate different grouping strategies to best support learning and meet the needs of the students. Throughout the unit I implemented a range of grouping structures using the lesson experiences and observations, my critical reflections on each lesson, discussions with my coordinating teacher and the contextual factors of the students and the classroom to explore these strategies. In doing this I feel that I have learnt a great deal in regard to incorporating grouping in the classroom and developed and improve my teaching practice.