Series: Tch Tips

Three Ways to Encourage Student Collaboration
Lesson Objective: Help students learn from each other
All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Thought starters

  1. How does taking think time set students up for successful collaboration?
  2. How could you explicitly teach listening skills and talking norms?
  3. How does assigning roles facilitate successful collaboration?

I use think time with Kindergartners. I have students sitting at table of 4, with 2 students facing 2 others. I ask a question, and then I have students turn to shoulder partners and share. After this, I ask tables to talk with each other (shoulder partners sharing with shoulder partners.) This works really well when we are discussing something and EVERYBODY wants to share at once. This way they can instantly share and be heard. This is SO important to 5 and 6 year olds!

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Allowing time for reflective thinking is particularly important when working with students with slower processing speed,  students from indigenous cultures particularly who speak their native language.  To foster helping the students fo become more comfortable with quiet reflective thinking time.... I have introduced and cultivated students practicing what I call " QUIET TIME."  This is essentially meditation with eyes closed and students putting down their heards, or sitting up with relaxed / strong posture with eyes closed.  After several weeks, students have consistently grown to welcome this brief reprieve which encourages reflective thinking.

Resource:  youtube: Norwich University meditation ( approx 7 + minutes )

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I like this idea and I think I will try it in my kindergarten class. This will give students a minute to breath, calm down if necessary, and gather their thoughts. Sometimes 5 and 6 year olds just want to blurt things out and they don't always make sense!

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Think time allows students to self-reflect, providing a moment for children to process information. With constant stimulation throughout the day, it is rare that children receive a quiet moment to unpack their learning. An educator may explicitly teach listening skills and talking norms through Responsive classroom techniques. The teacher may address the class by stating, “what do you notice about…” Students are able to make connections and understand the expectations according to the class rules set forth at the beginning of the school year. Assigning roles allow students to exhibit ownership of the facilitation process to successfully collaborate. There is a great deal of planning and anticipation when assigning roles to students. Teachers have an intent that is based upon the lesson’s objectives. Educators are able to facilitate student learning through the careful arrangement of groups.

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"Discussion partners" is a strategy that I am currently working on. I think the obstacle I was running into could be solved using the "think time" strategy. In addition to that, I will give them ideas for ways to apporach the topic; maybe seed questions.

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  • - - This is going to be your think time alone, off you go. Individual think time gives each child

    - - This is going to be your think time alone, off you go. Individual think time gives each child time to think and reason before someone speaks to them. Turn and talk about it with somebody at your table, and see where you are. - So one of the strategies I use in my classroom is rug partners, and it's structured with rules of listening skills, and talking norms. The reason I do that is just to get the juices flowing - Keep the conversation going. - I would say, pair your chattys with your quiets and your ELLs with your english-only students so that they are able to really help each other and build on each other's strengths. - So when you came in today you each got a sticker, okay, those are your job stickers for today for our investigation - So in trying to create a good collaborative role in the classroom, I definitely think at first the teachers have to assign jobs to the students, but then eventually move to where that is a student choice. - I think one of the most important things is to know your student's personalities and which students are going to be dominant, which ones are going to kinda sit back and listen. - I also, think that teachers have to be willing to change those groups, the groups can't remain the same every time and all the time. - Remember, don't forget the measurement.

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