Collaboration is defined as working jointly with other people, especially in an intellectual way (Merriam-Webster, 2010). Within a classroom, collaboration facilitates and promotes learning by using the skills, talents, and gifts of all learners. Working together for a common cause breaks down social barriers and develops communication, problem solving, and relationship skills. Educationally, this leads to a “more balanced social climate in the school that reflects the real world” (Walther-Thomas, Korinek, Mclaughlin, & Williams, 2000).
Cooperative learning promotes learning through authentic tasks. Students interact with their peers to brainstorm, explain, question, disagree, persuade, and problem-solve. The success of the learner requires collaboration and communication. Group dialogue enables students to become more empathetic, knowledgeable, strategic, and self-determined (Johnson & Johnson, 1987). Grouping strategies may include using student pairs, teacher-lead small groups, and flexible groups that may vary throughout the day or week (Webb, 2009).
The use of grouping strategies has many benefits for both teachers and students. By using grouping strategies, teachers can focus their efforts to create individualized and targeted lessons for students, thus customizing instruction to meet the needs of each learner. Students may benefit from grouping strategies by learning appropriate social skills while fostering independent and collaborative skills (Jackson & Bruegmann, 2009).
Many of Team A’s favorite lessons were found on the A to Z Teacher Stuff web page. This resource provides many links to lesson plans. Cooperative lesson plans, thematic units, printable worksheets, and technology focus content are easily accessible to anyone (http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/index.shtml).
One of the lessons found in A to Z Teacher Stuff was based upon Dan, the Flying Man Comes to Our Town by Amanda Post, a book... [continues]
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