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?

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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The importance of assigning roles in collaborative groups is something I had to learn the hard way. I quickly realized that there were students who would take the reigns and there were students who were very comfortable with that. It became less of a collaborative assignment and more a project that was apparently only assigned to 6 proactive students.

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Collaboration is an essential skill that is best learned when the students are still young because it is a critical period in their academic journey. It gives them time to brainstorm ideas and work as a group to discuss ideas and they can also work on their social skills which are essential to be successful in life.  In today's job market, collaboration is an essential skill to have in order to make bussinesses grow.  The practice of social skills will also help these students to land the job they want by giving good eye contact and communication skills.   

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Those are great strategies! I liked the idea to assign roles for the younger students, and how the partner work is structured so students know how to practice good listening skills. Thanks for sharing!

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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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