At the beginning of the year, I have of course included lots of get to know you team builders with my students, but then I just kind of stopped. It wasn’t until my last year that it kind of clicked in my head that my students needed to continue to foster these relationships with one another throughout the year.
Great I thought. One more thing to try and squeeze into our already packed schedule. Until I realized it wasn’t one more thing, instead it was actually another, more engaging way of doing what I was already doing. Content can be so easily integrated right into team building for a double whammy of content and social skills, because seriously, our students need social skills.
Now for a few of my all-time favorite team builders that make it oh so easy to integrate content.
All Write Round Robin
I love to use this strategy to write before we begin a new writing prompt. It allows students to use one another to kind of spitball ideas and gauge each other’s reactions. It also scaffolds the process for students that need it when their peers model the brainstorming process for them. In the end, each student has a list of ideas to work from.
I have also used this strategy during small group time when I have a student that is either always answering or never participating. By placing the initial expectations on the chips, it helps students to understand equal participation.
Numbered Heads Together
I have heard some of the absolute best conversations between students while using this strategy. I like to use this strategy with pretty tough questions, such as these Multi-Step Word Problems that really require students to dig in and think about how they arrived at their answer, as well as be able to explain it to their teammate.
If you are looking for more information on cooperative learning strategies, check out this post on cooperative learning basics.
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