Tag Archives: collaborative learning

Facilitating Collaborative Learning

“The world increasingly relies on people being able to work together to collaboratively solve problems.” — Dan St. Louis, Principal of University Park Campus School

Group work is an integral part of school and world culture. Through group work, students learn that there’s a diversity of valid perspectives, build comfort around using their own voices, and understand the value of accepting and building on the contributions of others. When facilitating group work in the classroom, teachers need to be actively involved and continuously help with team maintenance.

Once my students are put into groups, I have the create a team charter  in less than ten minutes that addresses the following:

Participation: We agree to….

Communication: We agree to…

Meetings: We agree to….

Conduct: We agree to…

Conflict: We agree to…

Deadlines: We agree to…

We cannot expect that all our students will get along and everyone will do their assigned job. So, I give my students access to a few resources that address collaborative group work and resolving conflict.

Here are a few resources I provide for my students:

Tom WuJec’s TED Talk “Build a Tower, Build a Team”

Coping with Hitchhikers and Couch Potatoes on Teams Adapted from Barbara Oakley

Implementing Group Work in the Classroom Centre for Teaching Excellence

Group work: Using cooperative learning groups effectively Vanderbilt Center for Teaching

Amy Edmondson “How to turn a group of strangers into a team”

 

After giving my students opportunity to explore these resources I then assign them a choice in how to explain and share their learning/understanding:

Choice A – Create a How-To document to provide your students direct instruction how to work through conflict. This How-To sheet is for students to follow, reread and refer to. Be sure to Provide specifics and 3 or more links to additional resources how to resolve conflict

Choice B – Create a Google Presentation with ten or more teamwork problems and possible solutions, particularly regarding conflict. In addition, provide 3-4 links to videos and articles how to resolve conflict

Before we give students a team project or assign group work, discussing and examining the complexities of group work can give students the tools and techniques to work better together as a team.  Having students share their products provokes discussion about inviting people to work together to solve big problems. This gives students vision and vocabulary to work collaboratively.

When students are working on a group project, I also have them design the group work rubric for students to grade themselves on how they worked in their group and how their group worked as a whole. Students identify the categories and criteria to develop these rubrics and then we all come to an agreement which one to use as the grading rubric for the final project.

Lastly, students complete a group work processing questionnaire created on Google Forms for students to answer reflection questions.

Group Work Processing Questionnaire

How do we make sure that teaming goes well? Discussing the elements of group work, collaboration, and continuous team maintenance helps provide students with models of teaming that works. Then, the results for collaborative group work can be awesome.

 

 

 

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Legends of the Hidden Temple Classroom Activities & Interactive Game

Legends of the Hidden Temple was an “action and adventure” gameshow on Nickelodeon in the 1990s. The game show required teams  of two to compete in a series of physical and mental tasks: The Moat, The Steps of Knowledge, Temple Games. and the final Temple Run. Through a process of elimination, the last remaining team entered the Temple to retrieve the ancient artifact and have a chance to win a grand prize.

The temple consisted of twelve rooms, each with a specific theme (e.g., the Throne Room, the King’s Storeroom, the Observatory, the Shrine of the Silver Monkey). The rooms connected to adjacent rooms by doorways, although some doors were locked, blocking a contestant’s progress into the adjacent room; the pattern of locked and unlocked doors changed each episode depending both on the temple layout and the artifact’s location. The unlocked doors were closed at the start of the round, but they could be opened by completing a specific task or puzzle within each room. One room in the temple contained the themed artifact. Three other designated rooms held temple guards. A contestant who encountered a temple guard was forced to give up a full pendant in order to continue. The team had three minutes to retrieve the artifact and leave the temple with it. If either contestant grabbed the artifact, all remaining temple guards vanished and all locked doors in the temple instantly opened, allowing the contestant to escape unhindered.

Check out the video to watch a thrilling episode.

My co-teacher introduced me this show online and I couldn’t wait to adapt it for the classroom.

Students are reading about social justice and courage for an independent reading unit and I took on the theme of courage to create “Legends of Hidden Courage” action adventure. I revised a few of the games (the moat) and all teams competed against each other, there was no elimination. Each challenge was worth different experience points (XP). Some challenges awarded points and A Pendant of Life — to be used in the future as a free Notebook Check Pass or Free Assignment Pass.

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The game began with the Steps of Knowledge. Students had read and analyzed poetry the day before on themes of social justice so we started with a QuizletLive on poetic devices.

Then, came the first physical challenge: Students had to take a picture of all their team members making a positive difference in the school and post on Twitter.

A physical and mental challenge was third. Students had to match images of upstanders in history with the correct names.

The Inspiration Challenge required students to reflect and write about a person in history or present day who they inspires and they aspire to for their courage.

The last challenge was the Minefield physical challenge.

It was an action packed class period and there are many different ways that this game show can adapted based on the unit of study.

 

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