The Paideia seminar is a huge hit with kids and really teaches them about collaboration, academic discourse, and close reading. You can learn more about it here: http://www.paideia.org
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I like to use the "Superior Attitude" quote to help set up norms and establish goals for the year.
I teach champs and how to collaborate in a group using the champs guidelines. I teach using a high interest topic and go over all the roles of the group.
I like to use lessons that provide the students with academic sentence frames to help them guide their group discussions.
Having specific criteria for what they are reading/discussing
is very helpful.
I like the student interviews and presentations either in pairs or in small groups. This allows student to become comfortable with talking in a group and listening to what their fellow students have to say. There must be an accountability piece for the information that the students heard so that you hit all skills necessary for collaboration. :)
I start the year off in groups and stay in groups all year long. I spend the first two weeks doing group activities and modeling what good group work looks likes. I try and bring my earlier career experience in another field as an example for the students.
I also teach them the term restaurant voices. This means that your group can hear you, but the group next to you cannot.
I use a number of activities from my Link Crew training to build a sense of team in my classes. Frequently, I have taught a variety of pre writing techniques (lessons) and used the content to provoke thought or just be goofy and then had students share. So, they were practicing/learning how to get started with the writing process and writing about topics that were easy to discuss with those around them.
This also allowed me to see which techniques worked best for individual students and I learned about them as people and intellectually from the start!
I start with pre-writing techniques and Link Crew Team building activities. This allows balance between, content, teaming and student voice. I also can learn about the intelectual process of students by watching with pre-writing techniques they are able to produce more text around.
I like to talk about respect and have a respect pact.
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