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Group Process Support

Collaborating to write a lesson plan and discussing mathematical content and pedagogy can be challenging for a team of teachers who have not had the opportunity to work together in the past. To this end, the Lesson Study Communities project has tried to emphasize the importance of adopting group process norms and employing strategies for effective collaboration.

Group Process Norms
We introduced the idea of establishing group process norms during the Introductory Workshop. In that session, participants were asked to reflect on what makes a good group and on what drives them crazy in groups. After sharing these opinions, the groups began to establish norms for their own group meetings in order to maximize the good group dynamics and minimize what drives them crazy. (overheads for workshop session-pdf)

Strategies for Effective Collaboration
Some of the strategies used by our lesson study teams are the following:

- Roles: For each meeting, have a facilitator and a recorder, and rotate who takes on these roles for each meeting.

- Agenda: We encourage groups to always have an agenda for each meeting and it is the facilitator's job to keep the group moving along the agenda.

When the group has a lot of ideas generated but is having trouble narrowing it down, they could use...

- Fist to five: People vote with their hands for how much they like an idea. All 5 fingers indicate an idea they are strongly in favor of, while a fist indicates an idea they can not go along with at all! This allows the group to measure relative preference.

- “Chalk Talk”: If the ideas are posted around the room, have Individuals go around commenting on the ideas with post-its. Leave time for people to get around at least twice. By the end, you should see which ideas have generated more thoughts and which ones have not really inspired anyone.

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