I like to help. So naturally one of my favorite parts of the Learning Rhythm is the Check-In meetings, where we ask "What's in your way?". It's the last question I ask and the one that allows me to take a more active role in each group.
I've found that obstacles come in many forms for groups. Sometimes groups need help sourcing materials, other times they have group-relational problems.
The most common thing that stands in the way of a group is communication. Traditionally, I may not ever know the status of communication within each group. Check-in meetings, solicit issues and problems to the surface. Whenever there has been a group issue, the Check-in meeting usually solves it. As an example near the end of last school year my 7th grade (12 year olds) classes were working on designing and building a Minecraft Medieval Manor. Each group was given a fief and were charged with the responsibility to develop the fief according to historical records. During one of the Stand-up meetings it became evident that a student really didn't know what they were doing. If you are a teacher reading this you know those students that appear engaged, but really are not. This student didn't want to be the flat-tire of the group, but also didn't want to ask for help while everyone was working. It was during the Check-in meeting that she explained her plight. I asked if she knew how to work on some particular tasks, she answered "no." Almost immediately the other two students in her group offered to help her, to teach her what how to accomplish the Minecraft build tasks.
It's sad to think that I was oblivious to my student's needs. I'm thankful that something like the Check-In meetings offered me the chance to help my student. Especially when that means students helping each other.
About the Author
Chris Scott, History Teacher
Chris's Twitter: @cscottsy
Chris's Blog: thedesignofhistory.blogspot.com