Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cooperation Clubs

I hope that you all are able to use my lesson that I previously posted on synergizing...but I have one more to share!
This lesson is one of my absolute favorites to use with 4th or 5th grade!  A lot of times I see students in this grade level having a difficult time getting along with others.  They are typically forming their close groups of friends, but have a harder time working with other students that they may be assigned to work with.  This lesson is a great one to discover the behaviors that they may exhibit that enhance or inhibit their group's success.  I would love to give credit to whoever came up with this one, but I honestly can't remember where I found it...

Cooperation Clubs

Split students into groups...I select the groups myself and typically try to split up the little friendships so that I can really challenge my students to work with different people.  

Explain to students that they will need to work together as a team to come up with a club.  Their club needs to have:
  1. A Club Name
  2. A President
  3. A secret password
  4. A secret handshake
  5. A purpose of their club
It is important to not tell students how to accomplish this task, but observe the process, only intervening if they need help.

After students have finished completing their assigned task, have students come up and present their club to the rest of the class.  Discuss what behaviors helped the group work effectively, and what behaviors were not as productive.  Some discussion questions I typically ask are:
  • How did you make decisions as a group?
  • Did one person take over?
  • Did any members sit back and let others do the work?
  • How well did you feel that your group did at synergizing?
  • What could have helped your group work better together?
  • What can we learn from this that can help us in a regular classroom setting?
The kids always love this lesson and learn about themselves to boot, and I love it too!  I hope you have fun synergizing with your cooperative trays and cooperation clubs! :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cooperative Tray

As I have already shared with you, I am split between two schools this year.  At one school, I primarily work with Kindergarten and 1st grade, and at the other school I primarily work with 2nd and 3rd grade.  I love that even being at two different schools, I am still able to serve a variety of ages.  At both schools, we teach the 7 Habits of Happy Kids as our classroom curriculum.  I was very excited about this, because I have been using the 7 Habits for years in my classroom lessons, small groups, and individual counseling sessions.  Last month, our focus was on "Habit 6: Synergize" which has to do with cooperation, tolerance, and teamwork.  One of my favorite lessons is one that was shared with me several years ago from my counseling internship supervisor, Ann!  I still love this lesson and use it to this day...

The Cooperative Tray:

The purpose of this lesson is for students to see first hand that you are able to accomplish more as a team than you are alone.  (We also discuss how sometimes it is hard to work with different people, but that this is what a true "synergizer" is able to do).

First, you will need to prepare your tray:  

1.  Find some type of tray to use (or beg your cafeteria for one if they still have them...) :)
2.  Select 14-15 random items that you can mount to your tray.
3.  Mount the items onto the tray securely...mounting tape, hot glue, or super glue should all work.
4.  Use some type of cloth to cover your tray.

Lesson Procedures:

As the lesson begins, pretend to be super serious and explain to students that they need to quickly be quiet, pull out a piece of paper and a pencil.  Today we will be taking a test.  This is very serious so there should be no talking or I will know that they are cheating!  Tell students to number their paper from 1-14 (or however many items you have)

After the moans and groans, explain to students that today we will be taking a memory test.  This is an individual activity because we want to see how much they can remember.  Make sure to tell them to cover their papers because you are looking to see who remembers the most.

Walk around the room showing each table the items on the tray, explaining to students that they  may not pick up their pencil until you tell them "GO!"  Once everyone has had a good look, cover up the tray again and tell the students to begin.

Typically, students remember about 6-8 items from the tray.  I tell them all "great job!" and that this is what I expected for them to remember.  Next, I tell them that they did a pretty good job on their own, but I want to see how they do as a team.  Allow students to work with a partner (or their table group) to see if they can get all 14 items.

Students will usually remember more items, but not all 14.  We talk about this.  Then, I tell them we will work as a whole class to see if we can remember all 14 items.  We are easily able to remember them all.  We check our work by looking at the tray and then discuss the activity.  Students are easily able to gather that when we work as a team, we are able to accomplish more and do a better job than when we work alone.  This leads to a discussion of behaviors that help us be successful in working as a team and behaviors that keep us from doing our best.

I hope you enjoy this "Synergize" lesson and would love to hear more lessons that you use to teach the 7 Habits!