I am looking to improve and use cooperative learning structures in my classroom more often. So I am hoping to collaborate with others who are also interested in sharing and learning how to use cooperative learning structures with this linky party.
One of the first basic cooperative learning structures I introduce to my students is Kagan's HandUp-StandUp-PairUp. This strategy is simple, gets my students moving, and is a lead-in to other cooperative learning strategies. When introducing it to my new kindergarten class, I am very structured with it, giving directions at each step. I use my poster to help guide the steps. I will release more independence to my students as I learn how much they can handle.
For example, on the first day of school, I have my students greet each other using this structure. If they are at their tables, they stand up and push their chairs in. I explain that they are to stay in a certain area of the classroom. This helps my strays stay in the general area. Next I have them place one hand up in their air and to pair up by the time I finish counting down 10-1. (Depending on my class, by the end of my first introduction, I may count down from 5-1.) If they have not found a partner, I pair the extras up. Then I give them directions by telling them to shake hands and say hello new friend. Then I ask Partner A (taller, shorter, bigger feet, longer hair, etc.) to ask Partner B what is your name? Partner B says my name is ____. What is your name? Then Partner B answers with his name. Afterwards we practice a cheer together with our partners. Then we start the structure over again, going quicker with each partner. We do this for about 5 minutes. We may practice again later in the day.
Before meeting my new students, I meet their parents at my school's Kindergarten Information Night. I explain that I use cooperative learning structures in my classroom. I give an opportunity for my new families to experience this through this activity using StandUp-HandUp-PairUp. Before starting the activity, it is important to go over the cue to pay attention to the teacher. This past year, when introducing this to my kinders, they responded quicker than their parents. They were so proud of themselves! The parents also had fun doing this, smiling as they met each other. I especially enjoyed hearing one father say, "This is so much fun!"
|Click above to get my Open House Bingo.|
I use this cooperative learning structure often in my classroom as it gets my students up and moving and it is easy to use. In addition, my students also get to use their oral language more often versus just one sharing in front of the whole class. I use this structure to share our big projectsthroughout the year: gingerbread man, alphabet vacation, farm animal project, and wild animal project. Before, it took all day to share projects one at a time. Now, my students are engaged and participating more often in the time given. They may not get to see all the projects, but pretty close to it. Click here to see my Alphabet Vacation example. Besides projects, I also use this structure as a way to share our writing journals and review information learned (see #4 with Flowers).
While my students are sharing in pairs, I am walking around and monitoring what they are doing. I also assist when needed. For example, one year, I had an ASD student who had a difficult time explaining each item he brought for the Alphabet Vacation. With the repeated activity, but new person (novelty), he had time to explain his project a few times needing less help each time. This gave him the practice needed for using oral language.
**I am not an endorsed trainer in cooperative learning strategies. I have been to a variety of cooperative learning workshops (Kagan being the main influence) and am sharing how I incorporate these structures into my classroom. I am just a teacher who wants to collaborate with others on how they use cooperative learning structures in their classrooms. I hope you will link up and share how you first introduce cooperative learning into your classroom. If you do not have a blog, please comment and share there!
CONGRATULATIONS TO CRYSTAL S. She is the winner of my One Year Blogversary Giveaway. Thanks to all who played along, and to the generous sponsors who donated items. I have emailed all of those involved. :0)
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