My kiddos love working in cooperative groups. Let’s face it, they love to talk. I am tickled pink when they are talking about math, not so much when they get distracted and start talking about their weekends.
Each time we start a new task, I let my students select their own group. My rule is they are only allowed one person to be the same from the last group. I tell them to stand up push in their chairs and then I give them 1 minute to find a new seat. If they are not seated after one minute, I find a seat for them. For some classes, I have a few students that do not work well together. In these cases, I sit each one of these students down at different groups prior to starting the 1 minute clock. The other students will then fill in around them.
I few years ago, I created a cooperative learning rubric that works well with my students. I recently updated the rubric with adorable troll clipart, and I would like to share it with you.
Before I use the rubric with a class, I teach them HOW to work in a group. I let them model appropriate group behaviors. I show them quality work. I may have to do this throughout the year, depending on the class.
I print the rubric on half pages and give one to each group. I know not everyone agrees to competition in the classroom. I am a very competitive person and somehow can’t help turning everything into a game or competition. I tell my classes the group with the highest score will be rewarded. This is where knowing you class is valuable. What reward will be the most beneficial. Some classes like to clip up on our behavior chart, others like candy, while others like earning math game time. As students get more proficient at working in groups, start using the reward more sporadically. Do not get rid of it all together, but keep them guessing.