As a part of our current Unit of Inquiry on Relationships, the teaching team has been helping students to build relationships within the Peace & Unity community. From the very beginning of the school year we have observed students interacting with each other and the environment. As the unit has progressed we designed a new provocation for students to engage with: Peer Groups.
The teaching team divided the class into 6 different groups; these groups were chosen with great care to build new relationships and took into account students’ strengths, growth edges and interests. Each day during Integrated Program, students stopped what they were doing and had to find their picture at a different centre around the room. At each centre students would play with their peer group for 10 minutes before they were able to return to the centre and play group of their choice.
Peer Groupings- Round 1
The first peer groups were:
Group 1- Gegi, Namtarn, Khunnie, James, Proud
Group 2- Titan, Minya, Zen, Oak
Group 3- McLeod, Anda, Marni, Thee
Group 4- Mike, Pejja, Nene, Matthew
Group 5- Mark T., Christina, Mark K., Matt
Group 6- Rasa, Mungkorn, Emre, Cenn
The different centers we rotated through were:
The 1st day, student were reluctant to stay with their peer group in a specific center for the allotted 10 minutes, but as the week went on we saw groups playing cooperatively together for the entirety of the 10 minute period. It was exciting to see these groups build into productive, cooperative play.
As the week progressed, we prompted students to reflect on their play with peers. On one of our big sliding doors, we hung a huge stoplight with the question: Did you play with friends?. Students then placed a popsicle stick with their name on it onto either the green (yes, a lot), yellow (a little), or red (not at all). The students were very honest in their self-assessment which helped us during regrouping.
Peer Groupings- Round 2
After spending a week with these peer groups, the teaching team met, shared their observations and discussed each of the groups in detail. After this reflection and using the students’ self-assessments after their play, we regrouped the students into new Peer Groups designed to further their social and emotional growth.
The second peer groups were:
Group 1- Mark K, Cenn, Mark T, Oak
Group 2- Pejja, Anda, Proud, Nene
Group 3- Christina, Namtarn, Marni, Minya
Group 4- McLeod, Khunnie, Emre, Mike
Group 5- Zen, Rasa, James, Matt
Group 6- Gegi, Matthew, Thee, Mungkorn, Titan
Based on our observations we also tweaked the design of some of the centres and replaced our Art centre with the Drawing & Writing centre.
These new groups continued everyday for a week. Over the course of the week we saw a lot of productive, cooperative play.
Since our peers groupings began, we have noticed that the students’ connections to the class community have grown stronger. Students have been using the names of all of their peers in the classroom, and we have been impressed by their ability to notice when peers are late or absent from school. The students have also been able to engage more with our centres: we have seen both the quality and duration of their play increase.
While we have discontinued the peer group provocation, we have continued to use the stoplight reflection at the end of Integrated Program. We have been impressed with the students’ self-awareness and the reasoning behind the placement of their popsicle sticks.
- Our new Unit of Inquiry: Changing Materials
- Open House