First, let me say that group work IS MY JAM. I think it is essential to teach kids responsibility and teamwork. Whether they like it or not, they will have to work together with others in college and career. So how do we make group work as painless as possible?
My classroom is largely group-work based. For the last two years, I have taught a very diverse group of kids in terms of language, literacy level, interests, needs, and ability. I find that engaging my students in group work is a great way to open their eyes to responsibility and to help them engage positively with people who are different than they are. Here are some things I do to help my students (I have taught 8th, 10th, and 11th grade) positively and productively work in groups.