Keeping them Honest

One of the things that scares me about group  projects is accountability.    How can I make sure they are using the class time I give them?  In the past, many groups have socialized and put their work off until the last minute, ensuring that their project was poorly done.  I’ve tried to tell myself that it is OK; they are learning natural consequences.  But it doesn’t work.  Like most teachers, nothing bothers me more than wasted class time.

So for a current project my seniors are working on, I have tried a few different ways to encourage them to be more productive.  The first is a plan.  They have to make a goal for each class period, and either meet the goal or explain why they didn’t.  Here is an example from one group.   I chose this one because they have also shown some of their thinking  at the bottom.

Evidence of Work in Progress


For individual accountability, I am requiring a daily journal entry where they explain what they accomplished, reflect on their learning and their progress, and link evidence of their work, if possible.  In this example, a student posts an image to demonstrate progress.  He also shares some of his concerns.  In  this example, it is obvious that most of the time, the student was thoughtful with his journal. He linked to a Google doc to demonstrate his progress.   Of course, these two are some of the better journals.  Some students wrote only a few lines and some skipped a day or two.  This method could be more effective if would show them examples of good journal entries.  Also, I need to write a rubric for them.  I dropped the ball on that and now I regret it.


2 comments on “Keeping them Honest

  1. Tara Smith says:

    This is ever the struggle for group projects, isn’t it? I have my sixth graders fill out a cooperative learning rubric – they evaluate how well they worked, and how well the members of the group worked. It gives me insight into the process , and it holds every group member accountable.

  2. I wish that my daughters had more teachers like you who value collaboration but also individual responsibility, since both matter. Thanks for sharing all of the examples, as well.

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