Every class has a personality- the whole, the group, the mass. How does that happen? How does the group take on unique traits?
Today I had students find their True Colors. Students rate this and that, likes and dislikes, add here and tally there and suddenly a color appears and students split into four nice personality groups. I love this activity. I wait for it every year and see if my take on each group can be matched by the colors---
My morning group - from day one, sweet, full of inquiry, polite. We have class discussions and people raise hands and offer insight. We finish right on time. When we get out planners to write homework, I see busy pencils filling in the blank next to math. This group has the most BLUES . Check!
My after lunch group- little noises all the time, if I'm not careful they'll soon drive me crazy. High energy, full of chatter. Every comment from me sets off 10 separate conversations around the room. They do better in groups. Note taking days will be like pulling teeth. This group has mostly REDS. Check!
My last group of the day- they get it done. Yes, energy, but mostly focus. They want directions, they want the work, and they want to get going. Class discussion falls short, people don't want to raise their hands, they just want to get ON with it. This group has more GOLD than I've ever had. Check!
Who knows what the kids take from this. We talk about group dynamics, knowing yourself and knowing your classmates. For me though, this is a treasure. I have numbers to back up my gut. When I plan lessons I can remember my REDS, and include something active. I can remember my BLUES and plan group sharing time. I can remember my GOLDS and have directions on the board, ready to go when they walk in. It gives me the power. Power. Without letting on to my students that I hold the strings.