Building A Community Of Learners – Week 1

August 19, 2010 at 9:52 am Leave a comment

This week marks the first week of my Faculty Inquiry Group (FIG) on the effect of community on student learning. Here’s a quick summary of what’s going on.

Day One

I started by handing out a student survey, collecting data about student strengths & weaknesses, time commitments, goals, and personal information. (I can share the survey, perhaps I’ll go into more detail in a future blog.) Once the students finished their surveys I formed groups of 3 or 4 students, and asked them to put their survey inside a folder, putting their names on the front of the folder. I next asked each group come up with a group name. I know it may seem juvenile, but it really is a great way to get students talking to each other. I collected the folders, and now use them when I take attendance. Besides helping me to learn student names in a quick fashion, I can scan through the surveys as I go.

Facebook Group Pages

I created a Facebook group page for each of my classes. This will allow my students to ask questions of each other as well as connect with each other outside of class. This week I assigned each class a Facebook group assignment. I chose 3 “writing exercises” that students needed to post their answers to. The idea is that the group discusses their answers, and then one group member posts their reply. Questions included “Explain why the equation |x – 8| + 7 = 4 has no solution” and “Give a real world situation that can be described by the variable expression 20x + 35”.

I also plan to use the Facebook group page for students to turn in CAT’s.

Math Attitude Survey

I gave each of my classes a math attitude survey that I put together from several similar surveys I found online. Our goal in the FIG is to determine whether our focus on creating a community of learners has any impact on student’s attitudes about the subject, so we will give the same survey at the end of the semester. I can share the survey with you if you would like to see it. I plan to visit a few non-developmental classes and administer the survey to compare these students to developmental students in terms of incoming math attitudes.

Groupwork

In every class session so far I have incorporated groupwork. I am trying to make my classes more active, and these groupwork sessions are helpinh my students to bond with each other.

Summary

If you have any thoughts on the importance of community, please leave a comment or reach me through the contact page at my web site – georgewoodbury.com.

-George

I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. Each Thursday I will be blogging about the importance of community in the classroom. If there’s a particular topic you’d like me to address, or if you have a question or a comment, please let me know. You can reach me through the contact page on my website – http://georgewoodbury.com.

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