Reflection: Trust and Respect Four Triangles Sorting Activity - Section 1: Community Building: Zones of Comfort, Risk, and Danger


Zones of Comfort, Risk, and Danger is one of the most engaging community building activities I do at the beginning of the year.  I have found that it is incredibly important to debrief this discussion, trying as much as possible to ground it with the goal of creating strategies for how students can help reduce the “danger” their peers may feel or, on the other hand, encouraging their peers to step out of the comfort zone to take greater risks. 

I try to pose a concrete example to students, for example, by asking, “if there’s someone in your group who always seems to have good ideas but won’t ever share them with the class, what could you do to help them feel safe enough to take that risk?”  Students will volunteer ideas like, “we could present as a pair or a group instead,” or “we could let them do a dress rehearsal in our group first before sharing with the whole class.”  Students sharing their ideas is what makes this icebreaking activity relevant and transferrable to our math classroom.

  Building a Community of Risk-Taking and Trust
  Trust and Respect: Building a Community of Risk-Taking and Trust
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Four Triangles Sorting Activity

Unit 1: Creating Classroom Culture to Develop the Math Practices
Lesson 3 of 6

Objective: Students will be able to sort their Four Triangles figures given a particular criterion and give a working definition of their assigned criterion to other students, providing examples using their four-triangle figures.

Big Idea: Students will take risks and build a sense of community as they share working definitions of their criterion and show how their four-triangle figures exemplify that criterion with their peers.

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