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...
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:
- A Club Name
- A President
- A secret password
- A secret handshake
- 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! :)