Tuesday, July 29, 2014

4Cs: How to Teach Collaboration

A series on the 4 Cs.

Creativity. Critical Thinking. Communication. Collaboration.  What do these mean in your classroom?  I put them in the shape of a puzzle because it's hard to complete the 21st Century vision without one of these pieces.

For our school, the 4Cs are a part of our district vision.  It's a part of us making our vision come to life in classrooms.  So our next step was asking ourselves how we not only make sure we include the 4 Cs for 21st Century learning in our planning and instruction, but ultimately how we are going teach our students to use them and transfer these skills.  Thus begins my series on the 4Cs and how you can bring them alive in your classroom!  I do not personally have the answers, but I hope that I can summarize what I've learned in other places, from other people, and from professional development.

This Week's Focus:
So I will start with Collaboration, a piece I feel is critical for the start of the school year.  We often incorporate team building components at the start of the school, but we don't intentionally teach students how to collaborate and work together.  We just have them do activities with the hope that it will happen.

As our school dives into PBL and providing our students with more opportunities for critical thinking, a huge piece of this is collaboration.  We have realized that our students are much better prepared for working with their peers when they are taught specific pieces of collaboration and then given opportunities to put them in action.

The #1 Resource I have come across is by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frye (if you don't know Fisher and Frye, they are the Gradual Release Gurus!).  They write a tremendous article about mini lessons you can use to teach your students how to collaborate and cooperate in group settings.  They divide these lessons into 3 different categories of group work:
• Personal Responsibility
• Respectful Discourse
• Collaborative Problem Solving
 Do you not love these First 20 Days?  Seriously, Fisher and Frye nailed it again.  I strongly urge you to read the article (short and succinct, but rich with content!).  You will be so glad you did - especially before school starts!
This is another graphic they use in the article to get students to see what their contribution is during group work.  Again, just easy-to-use resources.  

 I'd love to hear what others do and use to teach collaboration within your classroom!

Gotta run!

*Credit to Krista Walden from Creative Clips for the puzzle graphic!

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