Within my blended learning classroom, students transition between computers and their desks or the carpet at least twice during every class period. To ensure that we don't lose valuable time during these transitions, I have implemented a structured process to support my students in moving from one station to another. When it's time for transition, I call out the name of a station, and the students in the appropriate group call out their group's name, indicating to me that they know where they are going. As students rotate onto the computers, they know that they should walk counter-clockwise, starting from the scratch paper area to their work areas.
Writing partners are two students working together to collaboratively complete a task by reading together, asking questions to each other, and responding in written form together. Writing partners work together in every reading lesson as well as during writer’s workshop when they collaboratively read each other’s papers and ask for suggestions during the share portion.
In the Heads Together strategy, my students huddle in pre-determined teams at the beginning or end of a lesson to discuss a question, give each other advice, or decide on a response collaboratively. I use this quick strategy to give my students consistent opportunities to engage in productive group work throughout each class period.
Many teachers--myself included--utilize a version of the Think Pair Share strategy to give students opportunities for social learning and to build a culture of classroom community that includes respectful academic discourse. I use the Main Idea Think Pair Share strategy to ensure that my students are able to identify and articulate the main ideas of texts we are reading, which is one of the most foundational literacy skills that all effective readers must develop. I find that it can be helpful to use scaffolds like sentence stems and a variety of starting approaches (e.g., "the student with the longest hair speaks first") to ensure that this strategy remains fresh and accessible to my students, many of whom are English Language Learners.