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Group Work That Really Works

Edutopia – Jori Krulder

“Group work is a mode of learning I’ve struggled with for much of my teaching career. The concept of students working together to learn is valuable for many reasons, but creating a group activity where all students are engaged in the collective work can be challenging. Recently, I tried a group essay writing activity that not only involved every student in the task but also created conditions for rich student discussion that resulted in some real growth in their writing skills.” (more)

Grammar: The Skunk at the Garden Party

Edutopia – Mathew M. Johnson

“Grammar can produce anxiety for teachers because it’s maddeningly hard to teach effectively and has a lot of intimidating terminology like dangling modifiers and adverbial clauses, and every rule has exceptions. Further complicating matters is the fact that there’s great doubt about whether many traditional methods of teaching grammar—like the direct teaching of grammatical terms or use of grammar worksheets—work at all. In 1963, researchers argued that “the teaching of formal grammar has a negligible or, because it usually displaces some instruction and practice in actual composition, even a harmful effect on the improvement of writing,” and over 250 studies since that time, as well as a meta-analysis from the Carnegie Corporation in 2011, have widely supported that statement.” (more)

Teachers Learn Better Together

Edutopia – Les Foltos

“Educators often say that education is frustratingly isolating. And if you talk with them about collaboration, you quickly learn that they know it can be a powerful tool to improve teaching and learning—and many feel a growing expectation to collaborate. Reducing the isolation starts with the recognition that collaboration is a learned skill. Educators can begin to learn it by focusing on five key aspects.” (more)

Make Small Groups Meaningful

Education World – Dr. Tisha Shipley

“Small group or conferencing is a time built into the daily schedule for the teacher to work with students, one on one or in a small group. The groups can be built differently, depending on what the teacher is trying to accomplish. This is a time where teacher’s can plan focused learning for each child. You can build the groups by ability so that specific and certain skills can be focused on.” (more)

In the wake of Chromebooks, education needs to focus on collaboration

E-School News – Brady O. Bruce

“Lately, technology additions in classrooms have focused on providing each student with his or her own laptop; for many schools, it’s become the new normal to issue every student a Chromebook. This has been a great step forward in advancing how students learn, with more interactive content on Google Classroom, video materials, and document sharing.” (more)

Competition versus collaboration in STEM education

The Silicon Republic – Andrew B Raupp

“If you’re a mentor or instructor working to promote STEM education, chances are that you’ve experimented with a little friendly competition in your teaching and learning dojo. Playing competitive games with students is a seemingly great way to prime the pump for participation and generate some enthusiasm around academic performance.” (more)