Cooperative Learning #3 & Science Mentor Text

Summer is in full swing! I am loving the flexibility of time to get my hair cut, catching up with friends, going to a couple workshops, getting a facial... I am feeling refreshed!
For my Thursday's Cooperative Learning, I wanted to discuss how I use RallyRobin in my classroom. Sometimes, I group my students in pairs or in small groups of 4-5 students. I am also joining Collaboration Cutie's Science Mentor Text! :0) When integrating science into my reading curriculum, I love using Pebble books. These books have great photos and simple text great for my little ones. Not only are they high interest books, but they are also good for those older students who need simpler text for reading. I got mine through Scholastic Books. Click below to check Lions out at Amazon.

Before reading one of these books to my kinderkids, I have them get their materials (whiteboards, pencils, & tree maps) and meet me to sit in groups of 4. I put a grouping mat on the floor, and my students pick a number to sit by. Some groups may have 3 or 5 students. Either #4 is missing from a group or I have two #4's in a group. Here is a picture of a small group of 4...
The whiteboards are flipped over and used as a writing surface for their graphic organizers. My wonderful kindergarten assistant made the grouping mats for my team and I to use with our students.
Before reading the book, I ask my students to brainstorm words that they think will be in this book. In each group, starting with the number 2's, they keep going around and around sharing their predictions until time is called. That is a RallyRobin structure. We continue the discussion with what we know about lions, starting with the number 4's. Then I begin reading the story, stopping at various points. I help them make connections to the book by asking if they saw a lion before. Starting with a specific # they share within their group. Sometimes, I call on a particular # in each group to stand up and share something from their group. The tree map comes into play while I read the story to my students. The above picture is not the lion tree map, but I did use this one from Kim Adsit. (My kinderkids loved this project! We also made the lion king of ing.) I would ask my students to tell what lions are starting with a specific #. Then I would call upon some children to share something that their group shared. After that, I gave time for students to write their responses on their tree maps. They helped each other and wrote down the different ideas. After reading the book and completing the tree map, they went to their seats to complete their art project.
This lion project came from KinderGals website. Links are in above paragraph.
 RallyRobin is a simple cooperative learning group structure easily adapted into any curriculum. I love how it gets each student talking. Kagan has posters, technology, and clipart about their structures for sale at their website. Last winter, I bought the Powerpoint Pals to make my own cooperative learning structures posters. I show them on my IWB. Click on the picture to visit Kagan Online.
 I also use Kagan's Timer Tools to help with timing. In the lion tree map activity, I did not. Instead, I had my students show me they were done by putting their hands on their heads. This gave me an opportunity to check and monitor my students. To draw interest, I used a student selector tool to pick students to share information. This helped made them accountable for the information they were sharing with their groups. I liked it also for the ones who had a difficult time brainstorming ideas, because they got information from their groups already. Kagan also has Student Selector tools. Instead, I use two free ones that I got from Mimio Connect and Smartboard Exchange. If you have an interactive whiteboard, these are great resources to use. It is free to use. If you do not have an IWB, you may be able to use, I did before I wrote my grant for the Mimio. :0) I used my big screen tv to display the information and used the keyboard/mouse. Not the same, but it works too!
I did not use the grouping mats at my tables last year. Instead, I have my students name on a ring. Each student had the opportunity to be the team leader for one day, and then would start all over again. I called on my team leaders to get group supplies or help when needed. With a new classroom, and new furniture, I plan to use these mats at the tables. I will print one for each group, trim off the credits, laminate, and put on my students' tables.
Click here to get it for your classroom.
Click above button to visit Collaboration Cuties and their Science Mentor Text Linky.
There are lots of great ideas and freebies being shared there every Sunday!
Join me in sharing how you use cooperative learning in your classroom! Link up your thoughts of how you use cooperative learning structures in your classroom or comment with your thoughts or questions. I will be in a 2-day workshop, Got Mimio? Advanced next week... so next Thursday I will be there. I am hoping to have something special for you! 



  1. I love this idea of sharing! I also love the craft of the lion! So cute!

  2. Great lion craft.
    I have never heard about Rally Robin. I'll have to try it out. Pinning it right now.
    Have a great day.

    School Is a Happy Place

  3. This is very interesting! I have never heard of this. I like it. I will have to do a little more research on it. And, I have a Mimio, and do not use it to it's fullest potential, I am sure, so I can't wait to hear what you share after your workshop!

    I have used PebbleGo before (it's an online resource that my county has a subscription to). It's great. I don't think I have any actual Pebble books, though.

    Thanks for linking up! I will have to get my brain together to think of something I can share for your linky!

    Collaboration Cuties

  4. I've never read that book! It looks fun and I love the lions! I like the idea of the mat and changing your table leaders. I tried it this year with something magnetic on the side of the desks and they kept falling off.

  5. Wow...this sounds like a great way to keep every student accountable and engaged. Definitely going to try it next year. Thanks for sharing!

    Carolina Teacher

  6. Thank you so much for sharing.


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