Ideas for better collaboration and communication in your classroom
Introduction– Education is hard, teaching is challenging and a serious endeavor. Our learners need it and we are dedicated to improve the educational system. However, it IS ok to have fun as well! That is the purpose of our Collaboration Blog Series. In partnership, Brian Schoch and Aaron Eisberg had fun one afternoon and brainstormed successful, memorable strategies to help improve collaboration in your classroom.
Brian Schoch (pronounced: shock) and Aaron Eisberg (pronounced: iceberg) live on opposite ends of the country. Aaron, a resident of Napa, has a refined palette and vast knowledge of wine. Brian, an Ohio native’s, knowledge of wine ends with UB40 songs from the 80’s. But they share a love of quality education (and college sports.) Today they share some ideas rejuvenate your classroom
Let it go!! As Elsa the frozen princess says…let it go! “I don’t care what they’re gonna say, Let the storm rage on!” We will never get through ALL of our content, there is way too much. Prioritize your content, and focus on what you want kids to do, work together in a collaborative safe environment. Students need to process their thoughts and the content they have access too, this takes time and is worth every minute. Yes there is a lot of content, way too much that we will never get through, so “Let it go!” and get deeper with the content by improving student collaboration ON the content.
”Do Your Job”- This is a famous motto in the New England Patriots organization, know your job and do it well! It applies to us educators in a positive way. We know what can work and use a variety of tools and tricks. Every teacher I have come across always wants their kids to collaborate and collaborate well. Focus on one high impact strategy for collaborate and teach the kids how to collaborate, it is a journey not a fix all. Over time “doing our job” of teaching the skills of collaboration will lead to highly effective classrooms.
“Ice Ice Baby”- No it’s never too cold (for those of you music fans). Half of collaboration is listening, emphasize the listening and then have students restate or paraphrase their partner. I observed a teacher who did this well and the prompt she used was… “Stop…collaborate and listen!” this prompted her students to have quiet think time then share their thoughts.
Love silence! We hear about wait time, but really now… give students (and adults) quiet time to process their thoughts. Have them record their thoughts on paper or technology. Then have them share with a partner and have their partner share to the whole class. Builds accountability and listening skills.