@TeachThought Day 25: Ideal Student Collaboration

What does student collaboration look like? I often ask this very question of my students and their answers are insightful. They feel student collaboration should occur when students are facing one another and making eye contact. When I ask what student collaboration sounds like they mention student conversations should remain on-topic, respectful (especially when disagreeing on topics and issues), and all students should use low voices. 

I feel their views are spot-on. I also believe student collaboration should center on higher-level, open-ended questions. Project-based learning (see yesterday's post) is ideal, in my opinion. Giving students the chance to work on real-life issues will prepare them for the 21st century. 

Middle school students need the chance to practice social and content vocabulary and collaboration allows this to occur. I am taking a risk tomorrow and have my classes complete an online discussion for the first time. This will be the perfect teachable moment to not only talk about digital citizenship but also how to filter statements before hitting the send key. Non-verbal communication (body language and eye contact) will not help students in a discussion forum and this form of communication requires tact and diplomacy. #reflectiveteacher

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