All I Need To Know I Did Not Learn In Fifth Grade

Photo by Aislinn Ritchie via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Actual words written in marker on a large white Post-it sheet. Left up on a wall at an elementary school.

Astonishingly similar to every group retreat I've ever been on except that in the adult version we don't talk about #2.

Especially considering the waste involved, what happens between fifth grade and adulthood (or does not happen) that prevents us from overcoming these obstacles to group work?

1. "Problems"
Having to redo work
One person does all the work
Paired with someone you don't like
One person takes over
Having to compromise
Different answers
One person does no work

2. "Problems I Cause"
Goofing off
Taking advantage of others
Getting frustrated
Not getting it
Talking too much
Getting angry
Taking out anger on others
Not concentrating
Needing to feel in charge/I can be bossy
Pushed over (around?)
Not communicating
Don't know what to do

3. "Working Together"
Divide tasks
Check on others - help?
Talk out the workload so it is shared
Talk to a teacher
Explain your ideas
Be self-aware


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, and, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.