Best Practices for Collaborative Learning
1.) Writer's Choice - Students learn better when they write about something that is important to them. I plan to give students guided writing assignments with multiple writing topics, so that they may choose something that interests them.
2.) Numbered Heads Together- Members of learning teams, usually composed of four individuals, count off: 1, 2, 3, or 4. Theinstructor poses a question, usually factual in nature, but requiring some higher order thinking skills. Students discuss the question, making certain that every group member knows the agreed upon answer. The instructor calls a specific number and the team members originally designated that number during the count off respond as group spokespersons. Because no one knows which number the teacher will call, all team members have a vested interest in understanding the appropriate response.
4.)Roundtable- Faculty poses question. One piece of paper and pen per group. First student writes one response, and says it out loud. First student passes paper to the left, second student writes response, etc. Continues around group until time elapses.Students may say "pass" at any time. Group stops when time is called.
5.) Value Line- A way to create heterogeneous groups in class.Present an issue or topic to the group and ask each member to determine how they feel about the issue (could use a 1-10 scale; 1 being strong agreement, 10 being strong disagreement). Form a rank-ordered line and number the participants from 1 up (from strong agreement to strong disagreement, for example). Form your groups of four by pulling one person from each end of the value line and two people from the middle ofthe group (for example, if you had 20 people, one group might consist of persons 1, 10, 11, 20).