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What Makes A Team Great!

If you look at the roster of a baseball team, you can tell that the best teams have a diverse set of skills. The pitchers can throw the ball the fastest and the outfielders tend to be the ones who can hit the ball the farthest. However if a baseball team was made only of the best pitchers in the world, it would be safe to say that they may strike out most of the players on the opposite team but they would be terrible at scoring runs.




We want our students to recognize the importance of having a diverse skill set while working in groups. With the help of Scrum, students choose their teams based on skill, not friendship. Students get to know their peers’ skills by filling out profiles that describe who they are. Those profiles are then hung in the classroom. Students can walk up to the “Skills Board” to see who might be the best fit for their group. They are now looking at their peers differently: they base their decision on how to make their next project the best it could be.

As the type of projects change, so do the groups. Students see the value in having a teammate who is skilled in art, coding, or making iMovies depending on the type of project that they are working on. We want to encourage our students to realize the importance of working with different people. As a result, students become more open to various ideas and it increases collaboration throughout the classroom.

Classroom Example:


Figurative Language Scratch Project

Product: Team has been asked to create a video game using Scratch, an online coding site to help students learn more about the different types of Figurative Language.

Skills Needed: Coding, Writing, Research, Organization, Creativity, Computer Skills

Group 1 Skill                                                        Set Group 2 Skill Set

Child A- Coding                                                  Child A- Coding

Child B- Organization                                    Child B- Coding

Child C- Writing                                                 Child C- Coding

The classroom example above shows two different groups of students who picked their teams for the upcoming project. Group 1 pick teams based on skill, while group 2 picked their friends.

Group 2 loves to code and they love to work with Scratch. However, when it comes to creating a final product, they fail. The students in group 2 spent so much time coding, they ended up failing at creating a game that would help students learn more about Figurative Language.

Group 1 had a diverse set of skills. Child B kept the group on task with their organization skills, while Child C started to write the script for the game. Child A taught the other members in his group how to code, while gaining valuable skills from his teammates. Group 1 learned how to effectively collaborate.

It’s important for teachers to design projects that aligns with the types of skills their students have. As educators, it’s our job to include their interests and skills into their learning. When teachers design projects based on students skills, students will thrive in the classroom and shine as true collaborators.   

FLeRDing Your Way to Success!

If you are like me, the first time you tried to ride a bike you initially hopped along trying to steady and balance the bike.  This in its essence is failing; in that, you did not achieve the desired outcome. However, it was nothing like the time you fell and scraped your knee.  But, you carried on, and after each failure you received some coaching from Mom, Dad or whomever your teacher happened to be.  After the many attempts and failures you succeeded. You found the rhythm complemented by the wind in your hair and cheering teacher alongside you. Unfortunately, many of us forgot the most important lesson in riding a bike, how to fail.

The iterative nature of learning to ride a bike, then getting up, falling down, and trying again creates a cycle in which highly impactful and deeper learning can occur. We call it the FLeRD.  It is a mighty fun acronym which stands for Fail, Learn, Renew, Do, which when implemented ultimately leads to success.

  • FAILing on its own, is just that failing.  Nothing is learned. Nothing is gained, only heartache and pain.
  • LEARNing takes place when we start to look at our failure and review what went wrong.This retrospection allows us analyze what can do differently and adjust.
  • RENEWal occurs though formulating a plan to adjust and fix the failure points the process cycles back in the final phase.
  • DOing allows us to shift our critical path away from the previous failure towards ultimate success.
  • So FLeRD your way to success!

During the past year, I have had the opportunity to both witness and take part in many student failures, and each time we have encountered them we celebrated.  Failure became such a large part of our success that it became commonplace for students to respond with “Fail” when queried, “what does this class do best?”

When FLeRDing failure in the Scrum Framework, students begin to look to fail. If fact, teams try to get failures out of the way. In essence, failure becomes part of the process, and simply something the group must move through before success can be realized. It essentially becomes core to the learning and discovery mechanism.

Society has put so an emphasis on success, that we easily dismiss the failures that have led to the success that we cherish so much. I personally believe that failure is a prerequisite to success, and learning to fail is critical a student’s ultimate success. It is our task to ensure that our students not only learn to fail, but learn as much from the failures as their successes.

Scrum in Goochland

Hello! Welcome to our blog. Let us introduce ourselves.

We are Joe Beasley, Jim Frago, and Bea Leiderman. We have been working on bringing scrum to students for the past year or so. Our goal is to provide guidance in the classroom to help students be self-directed and self-assessing when participating in group projects. We believe that long-term group projects are an ideal approach to learning in our 1:1 iPad classrooms.

We hope you will visit this site often. We will share ideas, resources, and success stories.

If you are attending ISTE in Denver, come to our session and hear our introduction to scrum. We will present on Monday at 2:30 in room CCC 703.

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