Let’s Collaborate!

shutterstock_1104383261Collaborative Skills are increasingly important in the 21st century. 

Careers in the 21st century require more teamwork and collaborative practice due to globalization and the rise of technology. In addition, collaborative learning is increasingly seen as an effective tool in developing deep understanding of content. We are truly stronger when we work together, but effective collaborative skills take instruction, practice, and reflection.

We need to encourage collaborative work skills for future success. Utilize these strategies as you help your students to develop collaborative skills.

Strategies for Developing Collaborative Skills:

Jigsaw– Give each group a different topic. Re-mix groups with one planted “expert” on each topic, who now has to teach his new group.

Board Rotation – Assign groups of students to each of the boards you have set up in the room (four or more works best), and assign one topic/question per board. After each group writes an answer, they rotate to the next board and write their answer below the first, and so on around the room.

Human Tableau– Groups create living scenes  which relate to the classroom concepts or historical events.

Group Investigation – The class is divided into teams. Teams select topics to investigate, gather information, prepare a report, and present their findings to the entire class.

Newscast – Newscasts are written and produced by teams of students. Newscasts can either be about current happenings or be used to explore historical events.

Numbered Heads Together- Each student is assigned a number. Members of the group work together to agree on an answer. Teacher randomly selects one number. Student with that number answers for the group.

Story Circle
 – One person begins a story about the topic and stops after a few sentences. The next person picks up the story thread and continues it, then stops. Next person adds to it and so on until the tale comes to a resolution. The story could begin with a pre-selected title such as “My trip on the wagon train.”

Stick Together! – Students individually fill out potential solutions on post-it notes. Team up in groups or 4-5. Post-it notes are grouped “like with like.” Patterns and relationships in the groups are observed.


These strategies build collaborative practices in the classroom. Working together isn’t “cheating” – it helps students to prepare for the 21st century!




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