How I teach Collaboration

 Thank you for stopping by Ramona Recommends today. I am so happy you are here. Today, I will be sharing how I teach students to collaborate in the classroom. Collaboration is a learned skilled that must be taught throughout the year to be most successful. This year I want my students to RISE UP to the occasion and collaborate freely in the classroom. How does this happen? LOTS of modeling and praising our students for a job well done.

I was sitting in my sister's living room watching the new AT&T commercial and my ears perked up when I heard the song Rise Up by Andra Day. It literally stopped me in mid scroll. Wow! I thought to myself what a beautiful song. I googled the commercial and found her music video. Listening to the words a teaching idea danced in my brain.

One area I would like to work on this school year is building ACTIVE collaboration in my classroom. What does that mean? I want my students to be active participates in their education. When someone is sharing a thought I want to them to be actively engaged and then respond with meaning. Too many times students are not listening to their peers and are on to something else. This year that is going to change in room 20. Here is what I plan to do!

At the beginning of the year, I do a back to school boot camp teaching ALL my rules and procedures. One of my rules is #beawesome which then gets broken down into A LOT mini rules. One of the tiers of #beawesome is collaboration which brings me to my COLLABORATION lesson. I bet you can guess what the lesson starts with. Yep! You are correct a picture book.

I read  Pig the Pug to introduce my collaboration lesson. *Amazon affiliate link used.

*I am telling you there is a picture book for everything*. 

If you are unfamiliar with Pig the Pug, it is a wonderful story that teaches a lesson on working together and learning from each other. Pig the pug has a hard time sharing his toys with his friend Trevor the wiener dog.  One of my favorite lines in the story is, "But it might be more fun, " Trevor said to Pig, "if we both played together..." "Well, Pig flipped his wig."

I don't know about you, but a lot of students are in this same situation. They do not like to work together and would rather work alone. In a world where communication is leading the charts, we as teachers MUST teach our students how to collaboratively communicate in this creative world. 

After we read the story, we discuss what went wrong and where there was no collaboration. Then I have my students work in groups to discuss how could Pig and Trevor work together to have harmony in their household.
While picture books are my jam, so are feel good songs. I found this INCREDIBLE video for the US Olympic team with music by Andra Day. All the team work in this video has me like dancing around my office. The main goal I want my students to see when they watch this video is WE MUST WORK TOGETHER in order to grow. Want to watch the video? Open the magic HERE. Please play the video before showing it your students to make sure it matches your school climate. 

Next, I ask my students to think about what does collaboration mean to them. They write it down in their planner and I have them look at it through out the year. Collaboration means working together to grow. I truly believe in order to grow you must teach your students how to effectively work together when winning or failing. 

The last activity we do for this lesson is called, "Just chatting". I make all the students line up in the back of the room and I pass out a partner card from my LETS STICK TOGETHER partner cards.

Each student gets a card and then when I say "collaborate" they start looking for their match, but they are not allowed to talk. It is a silent collaboration. Once each pair meets, they find two empty desks or floor seats. Then they start just chatting. I give them the first 1-2 minutes to just chat. This can sometimes be painful because some kids do not like to talk. That is when I bust out Jen Jones' 87 Praise Phrases.

 I start walking around the room and for the students who are actively collaborating I say, "Way to Go" or "You're going to college". This gets them SUPER excited. When the two minutes are up, I then begin my pre-made questions. Here are some examples of questions:
1. What did you do this summer? 
2. Last year, what was your favorite event?
3. If you could be any animal, what would it be? 
The questions are so simple because I want the students to be actively listening and not worried about having to dig too deep (for now). We also practice on how to do follow up questions.

If we want our students to collaborate when it gets tough, we need to give them the chance to learn how to effectively communicate with their peers on their terms.

Just a thought! If you have some students who are too good at collaborating, try SHARE cards. I created these a few years ago for a student who loved to share. When I say LOVE. It was LOVE! Each student gets 4 cards during a subject to share out. On the flip-side, you can even use these for students who do not like to speak.

How do you teach collaboration in your classsroom?

1 comment

  1. I can't wait to check out Pig the Pug..looks super cute! Thanks for the great ideas :)
    The Techie Teacher


Hello! I love when you comment. It makes my day! I like to comment back to you through email. Make sure you have that setting enabled! Have a wonderful day!!!!

Back to Top