I have been reading the book “Reaching All by Creating Tribes Learning Communities” written by Jeanne Gibbs. After reading the book’s main points and skimming through the rest of the many resources and ideas provided within, I was hooked and knew I wanted to try Tribes with my class. The concept behind Tribes is to build community groups within the classroom where students begin to learn from one another and use each other as resources and for support. Students are put into long term learning groups with one leader per group. Before groups are created students are asked to write their name along with seven others in the class they would like to have in their group. By doing this, the groups are then formed in a balanced way where effort is made to ensure each student has one person in their group they would like to work with.
On Friday’s class I introduced the Tribes concept and we did a few activities around what it means to be a community and how to act or “be” when working in a community. Students also filled in their cards with their name and the name of seven other students they would like to work with. I told the students they would learn who was in their Tribe the following week. Several students had questions, and many seemed eager to see how the groups would be formed. From an educating perspective, although Tribes may be a little frontend heavy, I believe if students are fully prepared and time is put into creating solid working Tribes that the learning outcome will be more than worth the effort. Today in class, the students saw the word Tribes written on the class schedule and were eager to find out who they would be in a Tribe with. When I was creating the groups I found they formed naturally. For the most part, I was not surprised to see who wanted to work with whom. When I released the Tribe groups there was a buzz of excitement and students got into their groups easily and the Tribe leaders assumed their roles well. Some of the leaders were a little slower to accept the role, yet I have confidence in their ability and believe they will both learn and share knowledge from the experience. I am looking forward to the next few weeks to see how the Tribes evolve and how the students embrace their new communities. I will post more on this topic and share the outcomes in the future.
Lesson Notes: I was excited to introduce Tribes into the classroom; this feeling has been a good reminder. I have been told, and do agree; when the students recognize your excitement it is much easier for them to get onboard. Excitement is infectious. A few questions to generate thought; what is something, which excites you that could be introduced into the classroom? Does it help build community?
Ms. Kolshuk's Blog
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