Surviving Group Projects

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Teachers seem to love assigning group projects, while all too often, both students and parents dread them. Project work forces parents to organize their days around getting kids to and from classmates’ houses. As for students, they know that while only one or two of them will do all the work, teachers won’t be aware of that and everyone will get the same credit for the uneven effort. Projects are hard on everyone, and assessment of them rarely seems fair. I’ve been wanting to write about group projects for a while now, but thought a pro-con list might seem dull. How could I be more creative when I’m not artistic?

Then, serendipitously, while on a Twitter chat, this post by Brian Costello piqued my interest:

Intrigued, I asked him how to make Bitmoji comics. Sylvia Duckworth (the producer of many wonderful sketchnotes) answered by sending me the link to her Google Slides presentation on how to make them. I quickly made my Bitmoji avatar and was ready to make a comic. Since projects were on my mind, making a “do”s and “don’t”s comic strip felt like the perfect place to start.

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So there it is — my first comic. It wasn’t exactly a quick project (I’m still learning and that takes time) but it wasn’t difficult, either. If I can do it, anyone can. And it’s a lot of creative fun! However… if you decide to assign a Bitmoji comic strip as a group project, make sure each student is responsible for a clearly defined section. 😉

8 Comments

  1. I am a proponent for group assignments and will keep these guidelines in mind moving forward. Also, thank you for sharing the link to bitmoji comics.

  2. Carla, you put the show in “show-don’t-tell.” Thanks for the insights, illustrations, and pointers to useful resources.

  3. I think group projects teach so much about collaboration and working together, but they also have some dangers (which are nicely demonstrated in your comics). One thing I do is ask students for feedback on how well they worked together (they rate themselves and all team members), and I average this score to form about 10% of the grade. I also reserve the right to adjust this if there is a weird situation going on. This way, they still get to give feedback, but it does not significantly affect others’ grades. In my experience, they are pretty honest and their observations usually match up with what I see!

  4. I like this strategy Aubrey. I agree that students can give each other great feedback and this allows them to do so without feeling that they’re negatively affecting their friends’ grades. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I can just imagine my sixth grade students using Bitmoji! Fun! Good advice regarding group work!

    • I’d love to know how your students like Bitmoji Susie! One of our teachers just resigned unexpectedly so I’m back in the classroom – thrilled to have the opportunity to try this with kids!

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