Week 33: Collaboration

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What are the steps to address the two topics Comprehension and Collaboration and Presentation of Knowledge under the Speaking and Listening Strand in the CCSS?  

Building on what we did last week, I divided the students into small groups again after reading another story and determining the important concept. The students agreed the important concept in the book we read was friendship. Then, the groups went off in different areas in the room. The prompt was to share what they learned about friendship they can apply in their lives.   The task was for the group to come to a consensus and report to the whole group what they learned about friendship. 

Before letting them go off in their small groups, we talked about the challenge the facilitators had last week.   They reported some people did not want to speak. So, we listed possible prompts facilitators could say to invite people into the conversation.  Here’s what students suggested:

  • What is your thinking?
  • Would you like a turn to talk?
  • Will you share your thinking?
  • Do you agree or disagree?

The students then went off into their small groups and shared their thinking led by the facilitator.  I went around and listened in. I noticed most facilitators took their role quite seriously.  They used the prompts to invite people into the conversation and made sure everyone had a turn to talk.  I saw students leaning in and actively listening to their peers.  When they couldn’t here the speaker, a student would ask, ‘Can you please raise your volume?” One facilitator had difficulties managing the group.  I told them it seems our next step is to identify the problem and think of possible solutions.   Problems present an opportunity to learn what support do students still need that I did not anticipate.  Overall, they were taking on the conversational skills we have been working on all year long!  

When the groups reconvened, each facilitator reported what the group came up with. I wrote what each group said on a separate sheet of paper. Interestingly enough, each group came up with, “Friends share.”  I wrote their responses to model the task, presentation of knowledge, that will be added the next time they collaborate in small groups. 

Breaking down the steps has helped to assess what students are able to take on, like the role of facilitator, and what support they need, such as prompts to invite people into the conversation, to be able to collaborate in small groups independently.  I am looking forward to seeing how they will collaborate to create a “product” and report out.   Stay tuned as to how we address and meet the Speaking and Listening Standards!