We realized that having group roles was not enough. After the initial honeymoon period of the school year, students would begin treating the group roles as desk decorations, kinesthetic origami toys, or rulers.
The participation quiz is a teacher move we use to get students to actually use the groups roles, but also to reinforce what equal group work should look and sound like! We first learned about this teacher move from Jo, who modeled it for us during one of her trainings. This has changed our group work game big time!
To set the scene, we tell our students that today we are only going to be looking at their group work. We have a slide (click here) in which we describe what we expect to see and hear from each group.
While students are working in their groups, we walk around recording our observations of each group. We like to use this handout to keep track of our observations. We observe and record student's specific quotes and actions that promote or hinder their group work.
The MOST important part of this is to leave enough time at the end to then publicly share with the class the things you observed and overheard from each group. Nothing gets 8th graders quieter than hearing feedback about their peers! The main purpose of sharing each groups' strength and improvement is for the class to learn what good group work looks and sounds like. WARNING! The magic of this strategy will wear off if you use it too often (we recommend only using it once a month)