Today's presentation is on Fostering “Academic Conversations” in ALL content areas in K-12 Grade Levels Speaking and Listening Across the Common Core
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What are some ways to include best practices for collaborative learning in our classroom?
Establish group goals
Effective collaborative learning involves establishment of group goals, as well as individual accountability. This keeps the group on task and establishes an unambiguous purpose. Before beginning an assignment, it is best to define goals and objectives to save time.
Keep groups midsized
Small groups of 3 or less lack enough diversity and may not allow divergent thinking to occur. Groups that are too large create “freeloading” where not all members participate. A moderate size group of 4-5 is ideal.
Establish flexible group norms
Research suggests that collaborative learning is influenced by the quality of interactions. Interactivity and negotiation are important in group learning. If you notice a nonstandard norm, you can do two things: rotate group members or assist in using outside information to develop a new norm. You may want to establish rules for group interactions for younger students. Older students might create their own norms.
Build trust and promote open communication
Successful interpersonal communication must exist in teams. Building trust is essential. Deal with emotional issues that arise immediately and any interpersonal problems before moving on. Assignments should encourage team members to explain concepts thoroughly to each other. Studies found that students who provide and receive intricate explanations gain most from collaborative learning. Open communication is key.
For larger tasks, create group roles
Decomposing a difficult task into parts to save time. You can then assign different roles. A great example in my own classroom was in science lab, fifth grade student assumed different roles of group leader, recorder, reporter, and fact checker. The students might have turns to choose their own role and alternate roles by sections of the assignment or classes.
I prepared terrific freebies for you! Click on the following link to access a bunch of my posters I use to set up collaborative groups and rubrics to measure success.
Rubric for Group Activity or Group Project
Join the NEA Professional Practice Communities!
What is this?
The NEA Professional Practice Communities, a place where teachers, parents, school support and administration professionals, and community members share ideas and resources to improve student success. It is free and open to all!
Click on the following link to join my online community:
Common Core K-5
Common Core K-5