No More Parallel Play:
Encouraging Meaningful Student Collaboration
Introductions and Overview of Workshop Series (1 hour)
This session enables participants to discuss their own experiences (both positive and negative) with incorporating collaboration into their classrooms. Participants engage in a card sorting activity about collaboration that helps develop an operational definition of collaboration to be used throughout the workshop series. Through watching videos of non collaborative and collaborative classrooms of ELLs, we also get at the reasons for which collaboratively structured classrooms are essential for ELLs.
The Elements of Collaboration (1.5 hours)
This session leads participants through a series of 5 stations, each of which helps participants to understand an essential element of collaboration (meaningful roles, requiring interaction, individual and group accountability, visual and structural organization, and explicit teaching of collaborative skills). At each station, participants look at curriculum and other resources such as classroom videos to understand that particular element and reflect on how they might incorporate it into their own curriculum.
Group Worthy Tasks and Kagan Structures (1 hour and 30 minutes)
Participants read the article “Group Worthy Tasks” and participate in a collaborative “Literature Circles” activity in order to discuss the content of the article. During this session, participants also read about and discuss a variety of quick and easy collaborative structures developed by the collaboration guru Spencer Kagan. They choose a few of these “Kagan structures” to reflect on how they might incorporate into their own curriculum.
Quick and Easy Collaboration Activities (1 hour and 20 minutes)
During this session, participants watch a video of a SIFE classroom in which students are engaged in structured pair activities that provides a scaffold for engaging in a reading. After the video, participants engage in a jigsaw activity about 5 different quick and easy collaborative activities that are effective for developing both language and content knowledge and can be incorporated into any discipline.
Designing Effective Student Groups (1 hour)
This session goes over the importance of designing thoughtful student groups. Participants review criteria for designing effective groups and collaboratively work to design groups for a sample class, explaining their reasoning. Then teams of teachers who share the same students look at the students in their classes and discuss different groupings that could work well.
Planning for Collaboration (1 hour)
During this session participants create and share a plan for collaborative structures and activities they are planning to use in an upcoming unit. For homework they are asked to try out one of those collaborative structures/activities and report on it at the next meeting.
Adapting Curriculum to Make It More Collaborative (1 hour)
In the final session, participants work in discipline-based groups to adapt at least one activity/lesson from each participant to make it more collaborative.