I’m so excited about using True Colors in class.
Today we took some time to split up into color groups (I took their sticky notes from the previous day and grouped them on a piece of chart paper waiting for them when they came in) and discuss what strengths and weaknesses each color brings to the classroom. Students were asked to work with their color groups to describe to the class who they are, what they can best contribute to the classroom, what other colors need to know about them, and what some challenges may be in group work.
Students were absolutely insightful today. They got to know cool, quirky things about one another (one of the gold groups today realized that no one in the group could stand sharing toothpaste with their families; like, ok!), they realized why some personality conflicts might be cropping up (and how to deal with them in a way that is respectful to both personality type), and they learned the value of different opinions and contributions in a classroom setting.
It was cool for me to observe them working because—as I got to see the color spectrums of each class—each class made sense. My first and third periods are absolutely phenomenal and, as it turns out, there is a very equitable “color balance” in each of those classes. My honors class is overwhelmingly green with a lot of orange thrown in—that has caused some conflicts but now I think they have a little insight as to why.
My most difficult period, though, has been my seventh. It’s the last class of the day but on top of that 24 out of the 27 students are oranges.
I ended up just dividing them up into five different orange groups (the other three were blues; bless their hearts) and asking them the same questions. It took like 2.5 seconds to realize that was NOT going to work but… I let it go anyway. Students were off topic, talking, walking around, and generally not working through the assignment; there was no one taking charge in any of the groups. I continued to let it go to see what they’d do. Students began getting frustrated, asking if they could work independently because nothing was getting done and they all started getting annoyed with one another. Yet still, no one stepped up in any of the groups.
Only the blue group earned full credit today. When I pulled the class together to ask them what they thought happened, I was so happy with their responses. They saw then that—even though they thought they wanted nothing but group work, discussion, no lecture, etc.—it’s difficult for them to self regulate and manage time effectively. They apologized for their behavior, acknowledging that if they were this frustrated with one another, I must be ready to jump out the window.
The best thing is they did this all themselves—I just let chaos kind of happen to see if they could find their way out. And they did. :)
The other freshmen teachers are in love with this idea too, and when I offered to compile all of the students’ color data and send it out, they were so ecstatic. I think this can be a phenomenal tool to use for group work or seating charts, or just as a general reminder for students when things aren’t working as well as we would like.
I’ve pushed back literature for two class periods, but I am certain it’s worth it. I have these guys all year (I’ve never taught a year long class! I’ve always been in block schedule semesters or block-like trimesters!) so I love taking the time to lay this kind of ground work to gear up for a year together :)