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How to use coloured bricks to learn to evaluate

In this activity, learners will practice expressing an evaluation and share their reasons with their peers.
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In this activity, learners will practice expressing an evaluation and share reasons with their peers. This is part of learning to reflect on collaborative tasks and listening to others’ experiences in order to improve collaboration. All you need to do this activity is a set of red, amber and green objects. You can use Six Bricks, but anything else you have on hand will do as well. This activity is done after a collaborative task. So many of the tasks in this course would work. Here, we will try it following the What Makes Us Special activity. After you finish the activity, let each learner think about the task and choose one of the colour objects to represent how they found the task.
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A red brick indicates that it was very challenging. A yellow brick indicates that parts of the task were difficult but manageable. A green brick indicates that the task was too easy. This sets up a good reflective conversation, allowing each learner to explain why they chose that color. Before probing individuals, the teacher can ask all those who chose red to stand in a corner, yellow in a corner, and green in a corner. To help learners reflect, the teacher can ask questions, including what might have made it easier or harder, and how they felt when things were too easy or too hard.
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Once each group has heard everyone, the learners can share ideas about how they might do the collaborative task differently, given the feedback from all the team members. Self reflection can be tricky for some learners, which is why, including more colours can help learners identify markers of success. For example, let them choose a blue brick to show that they want to work better with others or choose the orange brick if they did not feel that they were contributing. Remember to use this activity frequently as a quick check-in during tasks in class for learners to reflect on how collaborative work is going.

In this activity, learners will practice expressing an evaluation and share their reasons with their peers. This improves the ability to listen to others’ experiences in order to improve collaboration.

What you need

A set of red, amber and green objects. You can use six bricks, or something else such as coloured cups, or bits of paper.

As this is a reflective task, please complete a task beforehand and use this activity afterwards to reflect on that task.

Key questions/reflections

Ask the learners to be in their collaborative group.

Each learner thinks about the task and chooses one of the colour objects to represent how they found the task.

  • A red brick indicates it was very challenging.
  • A yellow brick indicates parts of the task were difficult but manageable
  • A green brick indicates the task was too easy.

This now sets up a good reflective conversation.  Before probing individuals, the teacher can ask all those who chose red, yellow and green respectively to stand in different corners and then share why they chose that colour.

  • What might have made it easier, what might have made it harder?
  • How did they feel when things were too easy or too hard?
  • How did working in a team make things easier or harder for them?

Once the team has heard everyone, think about the following question and share ideas:

  • How might you do the collaborative task differently given the feedback from all the team?

Scale up/down

Talking about abstract ideas such as performance and self-reflection is tricky for some learners.

Extending this traffic light reflection to include more colours (such as all the colours of the six bricks) will help learners identify markers of success. For example, they can think about using different colours to represent different attributes of a task – choose a blue brick if you want to work better with others, choose the orange brick if you felt you did not contribute.

To extend this activity, it can be used frequently during other tasks in class and increasingly be used as a way for teams and the teacher to understand how collaborative work is going. The learners will become faster and more adept at using the process to help them collaborate.

 

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