Chapter 6 – Importance of Collaboration
I think the single most important thing we can teach our students after writing is the power of collaboration. It appears that Mr. Gallagher believes this too. As he notes, “simply putting students into groups and giving them time to talk will not automatically result in higher level thinking.” So, in that vein, he gives us strategies that will be effective and assist in preventing “students from hitchhiking,” meaning getting the free ride as other students in the group do the work.
Gallagher argues that sizes of groups matter. Melissa’s note: I agree. But I imagine that class sizes and attendance issues are out of our control both at the college level as well as K-12. So we really have to work with what we get on a daily basis.
Since he believes partners can be an effective way to collaborate, he has a fantastic tool called the “Appointment Clock” found on page 108. I have scanned a copy of it into these materials.
I appreciate the mention of ethnicity and gender on pages 108-109. When it comes to collaboration, it is important that a wide variety of students are represented in the smaller groups. Sometimes you as the instructor have to intercede in order to create effective collaboration.
Another interesting concept Gallagher mentions is the assigning and definition of roles. Although they are too numerous to list here, or I could do it as another scannable image, Gallagher believes that it is important to assign roles to each member in the group and eventually, the students will not need his “instructional scaffolding” in order to collaborate about reading.
There are several rules to govern collaboration: · No hitchhiking
· Be critical of ideas, not people. Disagreement is necessary and can be healthy if handled properly.
· We’re all in this together. This is a writing community.
· Restate something if it is not clear. Paraphrase!
· Try to understand both (or all if more) sides to each issue.
· Listen to everyone’s ideas even if you don’t agree.
· Let all ideas emerge.
The ten strategies to promote higher-level thinking in smaller group settings:
· Silent exchange
· Save the last word for me
· Trouble slips
· Double entry Journals Plus
· Mystery Envelops
· Group “exams”
· Group open minds
· Conversation Log Exchanges
· Theme triangles
I will share my favorite two activities and tell why I might use them in my class.
Melissa’s first favorite collaborative activity via Gallagher:
· Mystery Envelopes – the groups all get an envelope that contains a question for the group to answer. Then each group will share their answers with the larger group and everybody takes notes. I think I will use this with the Baldwin unit as well as the earlier chapters in my textbook. I like the combo of small and large group work
· SOAPS – Invented by the College Board, this is a strategy that “provides
students with roles to help them discuss text. The word “SOAPS” is an acronym and here is how it spells out:
·Subject: Identifies the subject and main ideas
·Occasion: Discusses the main context of the text; considers setting, circumstances, events, the era, the historical or cultural context.
· Audience:Identifies the intended audience and discusses why this audience was targeted
· Purpose: Analyzes what the author’s purpose was for composing the piece.
· Speaker: Determines the tone of voice in the piece; discusses why this tone was used.
I can see this being an effective tool for both reading and comprehension as well as the collaborative activity. The textbook I have for the comp class I teach has four essays in each chapter. What a great way to divide up the essays and conquer the text.