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Teamwork and Classroom Community

Social Issue Introduction

Throughout our time at Forestville Elementary School, we have had the amazing

opportunity to be able to implement lesson plans consisting of a variety of different subjects and

activities. These opportunities to teach and interact with the students have allowed us to learn

many new things about ourselves as teachers and about the way in which students interact with

one another. Throughout our lessons, we have often incorporated hands-on activities that relate

to engineering and often differ from the lessons the students are used to being a part of in their

classroom on a regular basis; their lessons include activities but not at the same extent as the

ones we used.

As we incorporated these lessons in their classroom, we quickly noticed that students

were extremely enthusiastic to learn and use their imagination and creativity to participate in a

lesson that was engaging for them. We saw the excitement on the students faces as they

remarked on how they wanted to start the lessons immediately. While the excitement to learn

was evident in their approach to the lesson, we soon realized that we, as teachers, had to come up

with a way to channel this excitement into good team work habits in order to keep control of the

classroom and the lesson itself.

During our lessons, we ran into situations in which the students were so enthusiastic and

had so many creative ideas that they wanted to start working right away, often resulting in other

students in their group feeling as if their ideas were not being considered. Because of this, we

experienced some misbehavior throughout our lessons along with some issues of students not

cooperating as a team. We find this to be problematic because we want each student to succeed

during each lesson and gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the subject. If students do
not feel as though their ideas are being included and the groups are not working as a team,

students learning can be affected. With only twenty student in this class, lack of teamwork can

cause a lack in classroom community, and we want to help fight that.

Action Plan

Social Action Steps

Before Christmas Break

Discuss current teamwork and classroom community with cooperating teacher

o For the beginning of our action plan, we want to see what our teachers views on

the students teamwork and classroom community is. We want to see if she has

any concerns on what is currently happening in the classroom between students or

what types of behaviors she sees as being positive and encouraging for other

students.
Discuss our ideas of building classroom community and improving teamwork in the

classroom

o Since we are specifically implementing our action plan in our cooperating

teachers classroom, we need to get her approval on the ideas we have. If she does

not like them, then it is important for us to know so that we can work with her to

come up with ideas that we all agree on and think would work in the classroom.

Our ideas include establishing roles for students during group work, implement

community building activities into the classroom starting with twice a month, and

switching up students seats quarterly to allow for them to have the chance to

interact and work with different people on a regular basis.

Plan a lesson that involves teamwork

o The first idea we want to implement is establishing roles for the students to use

whenever they work in small groups. We believe that if there are set roles and that

those roles are specifically and thoroughly explained and modeled for students,

group activities will be able to run more efficiently with less behavior problems

than there have been. Some roles we believe could be successful are coordinator

(helps keep everyone on track and make sure everyone feels heard), recorder

(writes/draws groups ideas to turn in), encourager (praises everyone for the effort

they are putting in for the activity), and presenter (presents the final work to the

class).

Come up with community building activity ideas

o Before leaving the classroom for winter break, we would like to have some ideas

of community building activities to do with the class when we return from break.
Doing this now will help us be more prepared for when the time comes to do the

activity. We also need time to discuss these activities with our cooperating teacher

to make sure she approves of them and believes they will be beneficial for the

students.

After Christmas Break

Switch up students seats

o Before the students come back from break, we want to change their seats from

where they have been this past semester. We believe this will help with building

community in the classroom because it will gives students a chance to interact

with a new group of people during the day. Students complete much of their work

at their seats and often talk to those sitting with them, so new seats will cause

students to work with others on a regular basis rather than just in group activities.

This switch of seats will happen again after the third quarter is over and then

continue to occur quarterly.

Begin implementing community building activities/workshops

o After break, we want to have our first community building activity for the class.

Having the first one right after they return from break will help start off the new

semester on a positive note and set expectations of how the classroom community

should be. We think that the best time options for when to have these

activities/workshops would be the twenty minutes they have between specials and

lunch. These are both two high energetic times for students, so it would be a good

time to channel their energy into a positive activity.

Involvement
Because this is an issue we are experiencing specifically in our classroom, we feel as if it

would be most beneficial to collaborate with our teacher because she knows her students well

and will be continuing their education once we leave. She also has an influential role with the

first grade teachers, so after we begin to carry out our action plan, she could share what is

happening in her classroom with the other teachers and encourage them to try these action steps

as well. We could also collaborate with students specials teachers. Since they instruct the

students weekly, having their input on our ideas could benefit our plan as well.

We need to engage our students in this action plan. Since the plan is being implemented

inside our classroom, it will be our students who are affected in the changes. We believe the

action plan itself will help to engage students in the changes that will be occurring in the

classroom. They already get very excited when they get to do activities as part of lessons, so

starting to have community building activities become a part of classroom life will keep them

engaged with the social change. We also need to engage our teacher who we are collaborating

with. If she is not completely on board with our action plan, it will not be as successful as it

would be if we had her full support. She will be a helpful advocate for our plan as she knows the

students and the school well, along with having been a teacher for many years.

We believe that the students who are continuously being active leaders and speakers

within groups will most likely be the students who have a hard time adjusting to the changes

implemented within the classroom. Because they are so comfortable in their role as being

outgoing and creative students, it is expected that it will be hard for these students to take a step

back and allow other students to have a chance to proactively use tools and share their ideas. We

also think it is important to be mindful of the students who feel left out and are challenged when

working in group work, as they are sometimes vulnerable and shut down easily.
Resources

At Forestville Road Elementary School, there are many resources available that help

highlight expectations of both individuals and groups within the school and the classroom. Each

morning following the pledge of allegiance, the students recite the school pledge. The pledge,

At Forestville, we are a TEAM. We respect each other, we take risks, we learn from our

mistakes, we try our best, we create, we dream BIG! We celebrate each other's success, is meant

to build school community and encourage each student to be the best that they can be. Since

students start off their day saying this pledge, it is a good resource to refer back to throughout the

day to remind students of how they should be acting and representing the school. Within the

classroom specifically, there are classroom rules. These rules consist of one person talking at a

time, being kind and respectful of your school, self, and others, having a positive attitude, and

work and play safely. The rule that discusses being respectful of yourself and others is important

to emphasize when talking about team work. In order for us to be productive and positive in

groups, we must work respectfully and be considerate of everyone. We believe that emphasizing

these rules more in the classroom and reminding students of them will help build the community

in the classroom.
Outcomes

With our action plan to help improve teamwork and build classroom community, we

hope that students will learn how important it is to respect other people. Using engaging

activities students will open them up to the importance of working together since it is a skill that

will benefit them well in their futures. The activities students will complete will allow them to

develop strategies that can be used with working with other people, along with using the roles

and other tools we will give them.

Implementation

Lesson plans that we have taught helped us to see that this action plan was needed in the

classroom. In one of our lesson plans, we gave the students roles for the activity we were doing

within the lesson. This helped to introduce students to the idea of having roles when working

with other people that can be built on when the lesson meant to specifically teach students about

the roles we want to establish is taught. We also began the discussion with our teacher about the

issue of teamwork and classroom community. She agreed that there is a need to improve upon it

in the classroom and is in full support of our action plan. She believes that the results of the

beginning of our action plan have been successful.

Our next steps include planning and teaching the lesson about roles for group work, along

with coming up with some community building activity ideas. These things should happen

before break so that foundation is set and we are prepared for next semester to begin the work on

improving teamwork and community within our classroom.