Building a cast of diverse characters into a smooth-running ensemble is not easy. You can take a quick look around and see that truth in action just about anywhere. Your favorite baseball team? They had a rotten season because there were too many individuals and no single unit. How about that movie with six of your favorite actors? It was terrible. Everyone seemed to be acting in a different film.
A cohesive classroom is no different. Some years you have a collection that clicks. Some years you have friction and tension from start to finish. And yet you must corral those 25 or so individuals into a tight-knit special operations force, harnessing each individual’s talents, strengths, and possible weaknesses in order to move the class ever forward together.
In a span of two academic years, I went from one extreme to the other. As soon as I watched the fractured group leave for summer vacation, I began planning for a cohesive unit at all costs come September. How did I do it? I confess to using the military analogy. I made sure every student in my classroom was onboard, ready and willing to pitch in to make us a lean, mean learning machine. And they loved it!
What are you tips for building cohesion in your classroom? Share a story about a class that soared or a class that sank. We’re all in this together!