www.whyville.net Sep 28, 2008 Weekly Issue

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Cool School: Group Projects

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Welcome back to the Cool School! After four really productive weeks, we have learned so many wonderful new things! There is still a lot more to learn, though. This week, we are going to cover group work. Group work is tons of fun. What could possibly be better than being in a group to do work? There are a lot of rules and tips that can be given. So, it's time to work on our partner work!

- It's a group! The first thing to realize when working in groups is that it is a GROUP effort. Which means that it is also a group GRADE. So, when you're working together, realize that you really are working together.

- Don't slack. Just because you are in a group doesn't mean that you are allowed to slack off and let everyone else do the work for you. Now that you are in a group, you have to like you're in a group.

- Don't let the slackers slack. If there is a person in the group that will not do anything, don't be afraid to tell the teacher. The teacher will intervene and make the slacker start working. If you turn in a project and tell the teacher that there was someone who didn't really work, the teacher might lower the slacker's grade.

- State your opinions. If everyone's working on something that you don't think is the right thing to do, and you have a better idea, speak up. Your group will then be able to decide what they like most.

- Try to avoid arguments. It's great if you are having a debate about whose idea is better, but try to avoid the full-fledged arguments. Arguments cause tension, which can end up lowering your grade. Instead, attempt to carry out a discussion between the members to figure out whose idea is best.

- Compromising. If you are having trouble deciding which idea should be used, see if there is a way to merge the two ideas into one. That way, you give and take a little.

Example: Suzie wants to make a dollhouse for the group project, and Jenny wants to plant some flowers in a box filled with soil. (Don't even ask what project this is supposed to be!) Instead of arguing about whose idea is better, they decided to make a dollhouse with a small garden made up of some tiny flowers.

- Voting. When you're in a group, you have to make sure that everyone agrees with the decisions. So, it is always a good idea to vote. When you vote, it gives you a good idea of who wants what. Remember, when voting, majority rules. If everyone likes the idea but you, you are still going to be doing the idea you're against.

- Don't boss people around. Don't boss everyone around too much, even if you are meant to be the group leader. Always telling everyone every single thing that they have to do will make them want to stop working. Instead, make a list of things that need to be done, and let everybody else decide what they want to do.

- Elect a group leader. Make sure that there is a group leader. The group leader mostly keeps everything together, and HELPS assign jobs. Make sure that you listen to the group leaders, because they are keeping the group intact.

- Don't take up more than you can handle. If you take on five tasks, your group is expecting you to do them all. Don't take as many jobs as you can. Instead, pick and choose a couple, and finish those before taking more.

- Play up your strengths. If you are an absolutely ATROCIOUS painter, but you write extremely well, don't take on all painting jobs. Only take jobs that you are good at, or the finished product will look sloppy and undone.

Well, that is all for this week. I hope to see you all next week in the Cool School!



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