Collaborative Student Groups

Buddy Time

By its very nature, learning in a self-paced classroom with digital resources can be an isolating experience for some students. While I want my students to take personal responsibility for and ownership of their learning, I also want them to learn essential collaboration skills and to leverage social learning to grow as people and as students of Mathematics. Buddy Time is a grouping strategy that requires my students to collaborate with peers working on the same lesson at a prescribed point in each lesson. During Buddy Time, students can collaborate or discuss their work with other students at their tables and they can use their collective knowledge and skills to help each other move towards mastery. 

Strategy Resources (2)
Students In Action
 
 
 
Poster
 
 
This is the daily schedule for my class, with two blocks of buddy time given to my students to promote student collaboration and group work.
 
Students In Action
 
 
Poster
 
 
This is the daily schedule for my class, with two blocks of buddy time given to my students to promote student collaboration and group work.
Benjamin Siegel
New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II
Bronx, NY


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Moderate
Subject:
Math
Grade:
Tenth grade
Similar Strategies
Learning Apps
Self-Paced Lab Documentation

Organizing labs that span over a number of classes requires a substantial amount of pre-planning. The benefits of proper Lab Documentation are potentially enormous for students. Lab Documentation ensures that I can follow students through every step of the lab process even when groups are completing different segments within varying timeframes. Students develop lab procedures on Google Docs, create charts/tables/graphs on Google Sheets, and compile lab portfolios on wikispaces. By hosting their work on Google Apps for Education, my students can easily collaborate with group mates and me on a lab activity over the course of a week or more. During this time, I can ask probing questions, offer insight on effective lab methods and tactics, work directly on their documents, and help students record their labs with media-capture tools. Being able to analyze video of the lab procedure next to the results it produced provides my students a great means to produce high-quality lab reports, which they can publish to the web and their group wikispace pages.

 
Blended Learning Model Overviews
Flipped Mastery Model

I use a Flipped Mastery model of instruction. In this model, students watch videos of lessons that I have recorded and posted on the class website, answer a set of practice problems to hone their skills, and take a Mastery Quiz when they feel ready to show they have mastered the material. I provide 1:1 coaching and support throughout the process. If students pass a quiz, they move onto the next lesson. If they fail, they are required to do another practice assignment before re-trying the quiz.  There is no failing in my class.  Either you know something or you’re still learning how to do that thing, but there’s no in-between.

Number of Students: ~22-28 students

Number of Adults: two teachers (co-teaching model)

Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 110 minutes

Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: IXL; SMART Notebook; Screencast-O-Matic; Weebly; PowerSchool; Kahoot!; Google Forms

Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: SMARTboard; Wacom Tablet; Amplify Teacher Tablet (for teacher); Mac PowerBook (for teacher)

Key Features: flipped-mastery; competency-based; student agency; co-teaching

 
Routines and Procedures
Scholar Dollars

Keeping students motivated is very important in a self-paced course. Scholar Dollars is a strategy I developed to reward my students for working hard and making progress in the course. The concept of Scholar Dollars is pretty simple. Every time a student passes a Mastery Quiz, they receive five Scholar Dollars. Students receive 15 Scholar Dollars for passing a Level Test. Scholar Dollars can be used to buy school supplies, snacks, or even a pizza party. On random days, I switch up the payouts on Scholar Dollars - doubling the amount given, only paying for 100s on Mastery Quizzes or Level Tests, or giving all the Scholar Dollars earned on that day to one lucky student picked by lottery at the end of class.  

 
 
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