Academic Culture

Synergy

The neighborhood where my students come from can be full of negativity. My students need to learn how to support each other and accept the mistakes that come with the natural process of learning. Synergy is a strategy that is a core element of my blended model; it defines and reinforces the behaviors that successful teams use to work together to overcome a problem. Synergy has four basic expectations: 1) Push each other's thinking; 2) Share the load; 3) Use Accountable Talk; and 4) Move with speed. I use these expectations in a quick evaluation of each group every time we do group work, and the "winning group" receives a small prize, which reinforces my academic and social expectations and incentivizes friendly competition.

Strategy Resources (2)
Students In Action
 
 
 
Poster
 
 
These are the Synergy Squares, the system I use to track which groups show the most synergy. When the final box of a row is filled, that group receives a prize and it starts all over again.
 
Students In Action
 
 
Poster
 
 
These are the Synergy Squares, the system I use to track which groups show the most synergy. When the final box of a row is filled, that group receives a prize and it starts all over again.
Daniel Utset-Guerrero
Holmes Elementary School
Miami, FL


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Long
Subject:
Math
Grade:
Fifth grade
Similar Strategies
Assessment & Data
Leveled Interventions

While the majority of students are working on leveled online practice, I pull groups for leveled interventions. In these targeted small gropus, I give support to students practicing the same level so they can advance to the next level. We identify the skill at hand, work on some practice problems using white boards, and then spend time working on the online practice individually. Students have the opportunity to collaborate, supporting each other in figuring out the skill to pass the level.

 
Whole-Group Instruction
Vocab Blitz

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Academic Culture
Peer Evaluations

I encourage my students to evaluate their peers whenever they are involved in discourse--both in side conversations as well as in class discussions. I implemented a system of Peer Evaluations, a process that involves students using silent hand signals, in order to give my students more voice in class. Some of my students want to say what they think and exert their opinions, but there isn't enough time for every student to share. Other students easily get distracted and need physical engagement to stay focused. Through Peer Evaluations, my students can share their thoughts and are pushed to stay focused throughout student discourse.

 
 
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