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Transcript of Tribes TLC
have been sufficient for an age gone by, but our entry
into a high tech/ high touch age requires the addition
of 3 social Rs, Relatedness, Respect, and Responsibility." So much of life is committees and teamwork,
but we almost never think about learning how to
work in a group... Imagine what we could accomplish
if all of our classrooms functioned
around TEAM WORK... FOCUS ON THE STUDENTS... "All policies, structures, decisions,
curriculums,and pedagogies depend
upon the response to one question:
'How and to what extent will this
support the learning and developmental
needs of these students?'" Benefits of Cooperation More than 600 studies show the benefits of
Higher academic achievement
Creative thinking skills
Positive peer relationships
Awareness of how to function in a group Tribes and Creativity: Tribes transfers responsibility
to students. Some teachers worry
that this will lead to a less organized
classroom and give students too much
freedom, leading to discipline problems. But students who feel welcomed, acknowledged,
and supported are much less likely to act out in class
because they are ALREADY GETTING THE
ATTENTION THEY CRAVE in a far more positive
manner. Look what happens when schools turn to
the Tribes methodology... Does the Tribes philosophy mesh
with our goal to nurture a creative
environment? Once upon a time, there was a school for animals. The
teachers were certain it had a very comprehensive curriculum,
but somehow all the animals were failing. The monkey was
great at tree climbing, but was getting Fs in swimming. The
chickens excelled at grain research, but disrupted the tree
climbing class so much they were sent to the principal's office. The rabbits were sensational in running, but had to have
private tutoring in swimming. Saddest of all were the turtles
who, after many diagnostic tests, were pronounced "develop-
mentally disabled." Yes, they were sent to a special class in a
remote gopher hole. The question is, Who were the real failures? Like the animals in the story, each student is a unique creation...
a person who has a different sets of talents, intelligences, and ways
of learning. It is time to take seriously that the predominant focus
of American education favors students who are adept in verbal and
logical/mathematical skills and those ways of learning, but discourages
those who have different innate intelligences. Is it any wonder so many
children hate school? IN OTHER WORDS, we need a more CREATIVE approach that
lets each student explore their own UNIQUE and INNOVATIVE
approach to learning! "Creativity is sabotaged all day long in American schools through the
factory model system of keeping things in separate curriculum boxes.
Fifty minutes for English, fifty for math, then political science, history,
biology, etc., all in chunks interrupted by clanging bells. Whose needs
does this procedure best serve? Right! The school system's need for
control, standardization, and convenience... we spend years teaching
students about the boxes and then wonder why they have trouble
synthesizing the diverse contents of the boxes when they are finally
out in this world of complex issues." (p 55) What is Tribes? Tribes is a new way of learning and interacting Tribes is based on the idea that students can't
learn if they aren't in a caring, safe environment. Tribes allows students to take responsibility for their
own education. What's wrong with the old way of doing things? To a more group centered approach where teachers have less control but students learn more and participate more actively! At first Tribes might seem louder and more chaotic than teachers are used to -- but over time, learning communities DECREASE discipline problems because EVERYONE is involved! Old Paradigm New Paradigm Emphasis on teaching Emphasis on learning
Emphasis on parts Emphasis on whole
Isolated knowledge and skills Integrated knowledge and skills
Teacher gives information, Teacher is co-learner and facilitator,
student passively receives student actively participates
Everything is teacher directed Includes student direction
Homogeneous grouping Heterogeneous grouping
Decontextualized Grounded in real world concepts
Emphasis on product Emphasis on process: learning to
One answer, one way Open ended, multiple solutions Statistics back it up: students just aren't learning what they need to know.
Teachers are teaching, but... ...are the kids really
paying attention? ...are they learning new and
more creative ways to solve problems? ...are they developing
the moral integrity we
hope for? ...or, are they churning
out random answers
on tests designed to
regurgitate information? Tribes marks a shift from the old paradigm of isolated, individual,
organized learning... Enough talk --
let's do something
about it! We are going to make Tribes.
That way we can get a feel for
how some of the activities work. Warning: This activity
is really cheesy. The kids love
it, though! Barnyard Babble 1. Take a slip of paper. DO NOT LET ANYONE
KNOW what animal is on that paper!
2. Close your eyes and make the animal's sound.
3. Find the other people who are making the same
sound as you. Once you have found each other, stick
together. *This activity is on p. 215 Extended Nametags 1. Print your first name or nickname in the center of the card.
2. Underneath, write the quality you most value in people.
3. Write in the following corners:
UPPER LEFT: the place you spent your happiest summer
LOWER LEFT: the name of the teacher who most influenced
LOWER RIGHT: the year you spent three great days in a row
UPPER RIGHT: three things you do well Sharing Time With your Tribe, discuss the lower left corner of your nametag.
Each person has one minute to talk, so please time yourselves
accordingly. Take a moment to offer statements of appreciation to
each other. You can start your sentences with:
-I liked it when...
-You're a lot like me because... Usually, we would now move on and
share about the other parts of our nametags,
but in the interests of time, we'll skip to the
activity end and ask each person to share one
thing you learned about someone in your Tribe. CONTENT:
Why is it important for members of a
community to learn about each other?
How could you tell others were listening
when you spoke?
How were you feeling when you shared
these things with your Tribe? Reflection Questions These are two short activities based around the
properties of inclusion: Each person needs to be able to
Each person needs to be able to
EXPRESS THEIR HOPES
Each person needs to be
ACKNOWLEDGED by the group There are many group building activities
in the Tribes book, and lots of them have
academic applications, too.
After all, there is a right way to build teams... ...and, there's a wrong way. Building Tribes "Placing socially unskilled students in a learning
group and telling them to cooperate obviously
will not be successful. Students must be taught
the social skills needed for collaboration, and be
motivated to use them." (p. 90) Tribes replaces long lists of
classroom rules (teacher
created and enforced) with
4-5 agreements. Although
the teacher generally knows
the agreements in advance, it's
important to let the students
brainstorm what they need to feel
safe and trusting in a group. Once they have done this, it's not hard to
condense their list to the four tribes agreements (and, at times, one other
if the class feels they need one). Agreements VS Rules MUTUAL RESPECT includes concepts like... no gossip respecting everyone regardless of
race, gender, etc. respecting property
and privacy respecting each person's individual gifts and talents reflecting feelings (you sound angry) ATTENTIVE LISTENING means... indicating listening (nodding, etc.) attending (giving attention) paraphrasing These are skills students must learn! using "I messages" to explain
how a statement is hurtful making it clear that it's not okay
to put yourself down, either! APPRECIATION means... teaching the kids to recognize
and stop put-downs frequently inviting appreciation students do NOT have the right to pass
on things like tests and homework -- just
in group situations. count on group members to draw people who
often pass into a working role accept that watching and listening
is an okay form of participation The right to pass is also the right to participate! Why The Right to Pass?? Think of it in terms of the "Just Say NO" to drugs movement. "...The teen years are a bit late to begin
learning refusal skills. By this time, admonishing kids to just say "No" is somewhat simplistic. They need
to be able to assert their right to pass throughout all their developmental years. To be "me" and
know that "I" do not have to go along with the crowd is an essential resiliency strength
for life." (p. 89)
Students need to feel safe and secure in order to learn. Passing on school work is
obviously not okay, but students need the freedom to pass in peer-led interactions
and personal sharing times. Practical Terms: How to Use Tribes Obviously, students don't walk into a classroom ready for
Tribes. That means the first several weeks of class are spent
in building community, practicing the agreements, and
transfering responsibility to your students. Beginning each day with a community
circle and a short sharing time, using
Tribes strategies, etc. Help students create lists of what each agreement looks like,
sounds like, and feels like. Then, ask students to look for these
"spotlight behaviors" throughout the day. Using groupwork, teaching I-messages, and giving students lots of groupwork
experiences will help with this aspect. How to Know Your Class is Ready for Tribes 1. Students know and respect the agreements
2. Students know each other's names
3. You can identify leaders, less popular students,
possible behavior problems, etc.
4. The students have had successful experiences in
practice groups Forming Tribes 1. Make sure each student has one chosen friend in their tribe.
2. Assign an appropriate number of children:
Kindergarten: 3-4 people per Tribe
Elementary grades: 4-5 people per Tribe
3. Balance the number of boys and girls in each group.
4. Balance the distribution of leaders, shy students, disruptive students.
5. Balance academic abilities. 1. Give each student an index card with their name
in the center.
2. Around their name, have them print the names of 7
students they want to have in their Tribes. They should
have at least 3 boys and 3 girls on their lists. Obviously,
younger children need help with this.
3. Collect the cards. Assure students they will be with at
least one of the people they've named, but not all of them.
4. Select a strong leader for each Tribe and set their cards in groups.
5. Place your quietest or more disruptive students in each group.
6. Distribute the rest of the cards, making sure everyone has a friend
from their list in their Tribe. A Strategy to Try Using Tribes Overcoming Problems Not everything works out quite
how we expect it will. ...and sometimes, we need
to do some creative conflict
resolution and problem
solving. So here are some
strategies to make
your life a little easier! Tips for Transferring
Responsibility Resist the impulse to intervene as soon
as a group has trouble working together. Consistently remind students
about the agreements and
encourage them to remind
each other, too. Instead of immediately answering
student questions, transfer the question
to the group. Put Tribes in charge of
jobs like attendance, keeping
track of homework for missing
members, etc. Group Roles Group Roles help keep group work on track! Depending on
students' age, group roles might include:
Facilitator: Gets started, clarifies directions, checks with the teacher
Recorder: Records group work
Reporter: Shares the group findings with the class
Encourager: Encourages participation and cheers people on
Checker: Gathers materials, checks to make sure answers make sense
Time Keeper: Watches the clock, warns the group when time is running
short Often teachers worry that if they move to
learning groups, students will go crazy. The
key here is to give students ownership of
the groups and classroom "rules". Traditional "rules" (things like "raise your hand
before you speak") come out of the agreements.
If everyone is listening attentively and respecting
each other, no one will interrupt! "A major difference between Tribes and some of the other
classroom group methods is that people maintain membership
in the same group for an extended period of time [at least 3-4
weeks]. This is based on research indicating that:
People perform better on learning tasks when they are members
of "high cohesion" rather than "low cohesion" groups
Students who feel comfotable with their peers utilize their
academic abilities more fully than those who do not." (p 69) So what happens when the groups get restless?
The answer lies in... The Stage of Influence The stage of influence is where many people decide:
GROUPS DON'T WORK! You may notice disagreements
among tribes, restlessness, and people forgetting agreements.
Believe it or not, this is a positive sign. It shows that the
"honeymoon" stage is over and all students are comfortable
with the group process -- they feel included and safe enough
to speak out and be themselves, even the shy ones. Obviously, though, we don't want to stay at this
stage! At this point you have two options:
Give up on Tribes
Help students work through the underlying issues Assuming you don't want to give up, there are five
objectives for this stage:
Provide many opportunities for people to share opinions,
values, and beliefs
Make multicultural education and pluralism a focus in
Teach strategies for group and individual decision making
Teach strategies for group and individual problem solving
Allow time for students to define indiviudal and group goals This is where it also helps to have the parents on board!
If you let the parents and students know at the beginning of
the year what you can expect and some of the rationale behind it,
you won't have parents demanding you move their children because
they're "distracted" or "not getting along." It helps to remind parents
AND children that in real life, you can't just stop working with
someone because they're not your favorite person. Some Ways to Solve Conflicts The Time Out Reflection Cycle LOOK LISTEN DESCRIBE DECIDE Use this strategy when
you notice a problem
during group work. (p. 109) Give students as much time as they need to reflect.
Don't diagnose the situation yourself.
Eventually, students will begin to speak up.
Ask them not to use specific names (for example, "some
people in our tribe were using put downs," not "Susan
called Tim stupid." Stop the action by calling a time out.
Ask the students: "What's happening?"
With younger students, it can help to ask:
"If I was a fly on the ceiling, what kind of behavior
would I be seeing?" Ask everyone to think about their own behavior
as well as others. Ask them for specific sounds and actions. Ask students how this behavior affected:
the class as a whole
a group's work
an individual's feelings Have everyone decide what to do to improve things.
Of course, if you observed a specific problem with a specific
Tribe and they don't bring it up, you should -- otherwise they
may think you weren't paying attention or didn't think it was
important! Even if only one tribe is having trouble, it can be useful
to ask the whole class to participate in the cycle. Why?
The Tribe having trouble can learn how other tribes
dealt with similar issues
Other Tribes benefit from reflecting on their own interactions
and may turn up problems you didn't notice Using I-Messages What's the Difference? I Messages You Messages State the speaker's
Describe the behavior
or situation without
passing judgement Hold another person
responsible for the speaker's
Blame, make judgements, and
put others down EX: Kim, I feel frustrated
when a catcher isn't paying
attention. EX: Kim, you dummy, you
ruined my chance to be the
pitcher! Teaching I-Messages The Tribes book has many strategies for
teaching I-messages, but a useful hint is to
write this formula on the board:
"I feel________ (name the feeling) when
___________ (describe the situation or behavior)."
Warn students to watch for disguised you messages:
"I feel like you're rude" is a you message, even though
it starts with "I feel!" A Conflict Resolution Curriculum p. 112 Step One: Both Students Agree to the Ground Rules I agree not to interrupt, not to use put downs, and to work
together to solve the problem. Step Two: One Person Tells Their Side
of the Story Using I-messages, the student explains what
happened, how they feel, and what they want
to happen. The other student restates the first student's
problem, beginning with "So the problem for
you is..." Step Three: Paraphrasing The students now switch so that they have both
had a chance to explain the problem and restate
the other person's position. If you assure them at the
beginning that they will both get that chance, it helps
make listening attentively easier. Step Four: Repeat Step Five: Brainstorming Both students suggest possible solutions. Both students agree to work on a resolution that is:
balanced -- both take responsibility for making it work
realistic -- and will solve the problem Step Six: Resolution This is a great model when
only 2 or 3 students are involved.
The teacher acts as facilitator rather
than problem solver. In some schools,
they train student "conflict managers"
to help with this process on the play-
ground, in the halls, the lunchroom, the
classroom, and so on. Over the course of our AISI project
year 1, we've discovered a couple things:
21st century students do not learn the same
way as those who came before
Students learn and retain information more
effectively when they can apply creative ways
of learning and retaining it
The arts provide an essential basis for the 21st
century learner How Tribes Can Tribes actually contributes
to creativity in many ways,
but in the interests of sanity,
we will only take a quick
look at four! 1. The Open Question 2. Extending Student
Thinking 3. Reflection 4. Suggested
Activities How Students Learn "The human brain seeks out
and catalogues patterns,
linking new information to prior
knowledge and experiences. More-
over, learning is accelerated when
this happens. It becomes obvious
that if we want students to learn
new content, we need to connect it
to previous experiences at the introduction
of a lesson." (p. 154) The YOU Question We can evoke a more personal and creative
response from students by opning with a YOU
question. For example, a lesson about the Gold
Rush could begin with:
Have YOU ever dreamed of finding a lost treasure?
What was it?
If YOU found a priceless treasure, what would YOU do?
If YOU had to work outside in a remote place for a long
time, what would YOU take with you to survive? Students should share their responses in tribes, pairs, or
triads, rather than as a whole class (if only in the interest of
time!). You can also turn them into journaling activities or
have students respond through art or drama. The Ideal YOU Question... directly addresses the student
is relevant to personal experiences,
interests, feelings, or knowledge
evokes interest, opinions, and energy
appeals to imagination and creativity
is shared prior to a lesson's content We can continue to appeal to
creativity by asking OPEN questions. CLOSED QUESTIONS During a lesson... OPEN QUESTIONS Ask for yes or no
answers. Invite more creative
answers. Did you... How did you...
Would you... Why would that...
Can you.... Tell me how... A Few Examples of Open Questions: What's different about each
of the 3 little pigs? Which character from
Tuck Everlasting would
you want as your friend? What information in
the article supports
your choice? Some Simple Strategies
For Extending Creative
Thinking Creativity takes more time than reguritation.
Allow at least 3 seconds of thinking time after
Allow individual time, then discussion with a
partner, before opening up for class debate.
Why? Do you agree? Tell me more. Give an example.
Respond to student opinions in a non eevaluative fashion Sally, could you please summarize
Use thumbs up or thumbs down to see
how many agree with the author's point
Jason, will you please call on someone else
Encourage creative thinking by having students
defend their reasoning against opposing points
of view (p. 156) Think out loud and describe how they arrived
at a given answer.
Try to avoid only those with raised hands!
Tell students in advance that there isn't one correct
answer to this question, and advise them to consider
many responses. "The activity alone is not enough! This phrase is the key
to moving beyond just using small-group strategies and
expecting them to make a difference in student learning.
Cooperative learning strategies need to be followed with
reflection (or process) questions so that students can focus
on the interaction or learning that has happened." (p. 93) Reflection questions can double the retention
of the facts and concepts learned in an
academic lesson. Creative Thinking and Artistic
Team Building Activites from the
Tribes Book All of this fits in with the process of creativity,
which also holds reflection as a critical part of
the creative learning process. Three Types of Reflection Questions focus on the content of the lesson and
thinking skills used to work with the content
Content consists of facts, concepts, information Content/ Thinking Collaborative/Social focus on the interactions within the group
Thinking about the collaborative skills used focus on individual learning and feelings Personal Learning Each activity in the Tribes book has sample reflection questions from
all 3 categories, but here are some examples from a kindergarten class
that has been preparing fruit salad together: CONTENT/
THINKING: Which fruits did you put in your salad?
What did you have to do to get the fruit ready for the salad? COLLABORATIVE: What did your Tribe do when some people decided to eat the
cherries instead of putting them in the salad? PERSONAL: What did you learn from this activity?
What did you like about doing this activity? Abstract Painting of Feelings p. 208
Building a Time Machine p. 219
Bumper Sticker p. 220
Gallery Walks p. 254
Live Wire p. 272
Look At Me p. 272 VISUAL Here are a few of the many activities in the Tribes
book to get you started in creative and artistic thinking! DRAMA/
DANCE Celebrity Sign In p. 223
Creative Storytelling p. 233
Now I Am p. 290
One Minute History p. 294
Pantomime p. 301 CREATIVE
ACADEMICS Brainstorming p. 218
Chain Reaction p. 224
Find the Word p. 242
Five E's p. 244
Group Inquiry p. 259
Open Forum p. 295
Space Pioneers p. 339 MUSIC My Favorite People and Things p. 282
Milling to Music p. 279
Singing the Blues p. 333 1. Practice "Wait Time": 2. Use Think/Pair/Share: 3. Ask Follow-Ups 5. Ask For Summaries 4. Withold Judgement 6. Survey the Class 7. Allow Students to Call on Each Other 8. Play Devil's Advocate 9. Ask Students to Unpack their Thinking 10. Call on Students Randomly 11. Cue Student Responses For more information...