Establishing Norms in a Hybrid Setting

Last fall I blogged about my experience establishing norms with my students (click here to read about it).  The idea came from a blog post by Annabelle Allen, aka La Maestra Loca.  This year I knew I couldn't do the lesson the same way:  having students write on the chalkboards wouldn't work (no sharing of materials and half the students are attending class via Zoom) and students cannot gather in groups in the traditional way.  I still had the students establish norms, but I modified the lesson to suit our school's current hybrid model.  To start with, I made sure my students understood what a norm is.  After all, it's not a term 12 year olds use very often!  Students often struggle with norms vs. goals, so I gave some examples (from another class, so as not to give them too many ideas!)

Students, like last time, first had to jot down their hopes and dreams in a Word document.  In other words, what they hope to accomplish through their study of French.  Then, students in the room were put in breakout rooms on Zoom with students at home to try to devise three norms based off their hopes and dreams.  I was able to come around the room and see how the breakout rooms were going since most or all of them had a member who was in the room.  Most students used the chat feature to accomplish their task.  After awhile, I combined breakout groups and had the larger groups come up with four final norms.  Then, they picked someone from the group to communicate those to the class.  When everyone returned to the main Zoom room, I started a collaborative whiteboard.  The representatives from each group listed the norms on the whiteboard.  Then students stamped their favorite norms.

After the first three classes, I decided the whiteboard was too disorganized, so I switched to Socrative.  Using the Quick Question feature, I told only representatives to type in their norms.  Then I removed answers that were either duplicates from other groups or not really norms.  Then everyone was asked to vote on their favorite two norms.  This made it a lot easier for me to see which norms were the most popular.

After all this, I looked at the votes and stamps and determined what seemed like the four most prevalent norms and presented them to the class and posted them on my Canvas page:

Overall, this worked just about as well as the previous version, although, having students actually interact with each other in person is always preferred.  Ultimately, my experience has been that when you ask students to reflect, their values and goals are more often than not aligned with the teacher's.

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