The following are four cooperative learning structures are my favorite ways to get students up and moving while thinking critically. I use all four of these structures in my classroom almost daily!
This cooperative learning structure is so easy to pull out at a moment's notice that it just might be your new favorite. Students start seated in their chairs and the teacher poses a statement like, "Take off if you learned something new about the moon today." Students who agree with the statement stand up. The teacher is then able to quickly survey the scene then say, "Touchdown," for all students to sit. What academic implications can you think of for this one?
Find Someone Who
I use this cooperative learning activity with every content area and just your basic run of the mill worksheet. Students wander around the room looking for others who can answer or solve each question. After they find a partner they each solve a problem and sign their name. I encourage students to trade with as many partners as possible, and usually have a small incentive for anyone who solves a problem (has to be different ones) on every other student's paper.
Find the Fiction
This cooperative learning strategy is truly great for figuring out misconceptions! In their table teams each student writes down two facts and one misconception about the topic, but tries to make the misconception as believable as possible. Then each student takes turns reading their statements and the others try to figure out which statement is the misconception.
Quiz Quiz Trade
Quite possibly my favorite cooperative learning structures of all time! Students each have a card with a question on the front and the answer on the back. (Task cards are a fabulous resource for this!) Students stand up, hand up, and pair up. The first student then reads the other student's card and answers the question. The second student praises if correct or coaches if wrong. They repeat the process, but switch roles. After both questions have been answered they thank one another, trade cards, and find a new partner.
If you are looking for more information on cooperative learning strategies, check out this post on cooperative learning basics.
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