- Establishing small learning communities,
- Engaging students in collaborative learning projects,
- Incorporating peer teaching,
- Establishing a peer mentoring program,
- Letting peers critique one another's work,
- Using peer mediation as part of a school discipline plan, and
- Creating classwide simulations around specific academic content.
You may be thinking to yourself, "This is crazy." "The kids will be loud though." "They don't know how to work together." "But it's the middle of the school year, maybe I'll start next year." And to all of that, I say BALDERDASH! You can do it! Not only CAN you do it, but you should!
Take some time to TEACH students how to work together, how to speak to one another, how to critique the reasoning of others, ask clarifying questions, model effective teamwork and more. I hear you thinking rather loudly, "but I have so much content to teach, how can I do this TOO?" The skills that students build from collaborating are lifelong skills, and they are more likely to remember how to do these things than that great lesson you planned to help them remember the unit vocab! I have included some resources below to help you incorporate team roles as you move towards collaborative groups. Enjoy!
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