Hi friends! I'm excited to be part of this month's Bright Ideas Link Up!
Today, I'm sharing some easy tips and tricks to facilitate peer teaching and partner discussion in your classroom. As many of you know, oral language is on my heart this year! Getting my students to communicate effectively with one another through discussions, speaking in complete sentences, and peer to peer teaching has helped my students' writing skills, vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and reading comprehension!
There are specific ways I have designed and set up my classroom in order to promote lots of peer discussion within my room:
When students can reflect, explain, help, and TEACH a friend a piece of content, you know the child has truly mastered this skill and understands the process and thinking behind it! In my room, students teach each other important concepts and model their thinking with one another. This is a POWERFUL teaching tool for struggling learners!
My classroom is set up in groups of two. Students know to immediately turn and teach their partner a concept when instructed. They also know who to turn to when we discuss, explain our thinking, and coach each other throughout the day.
Having a Plan = Maximized Instructional Time!
For each partner group, one student has a RED star on his/her name tag and the other student has a BLUE star on his/her name tag. This detail and management decision eliminates wasted time for peer discussion and allows EVERY child the opportunity to have an equal turn to talk. When I say "Red Friends! Teach your partner the attributes of a square. Teach!"
The red students immediately start to use complete sentences to teach their partners the math concept. Then, I instruct the Blue Friends to take their turn to talk and teach.
Specific areas of my classroom are designed for student-to-student coaching. In this area, students can often be found reading to one another, reflecting on writing pieces, coaching each other through math facts, and summarizing a story together during "Choose Your Chit Chat" time! The focus is a designated time of academic discussion among students - without the teacher leading the learning!
There is virtually no downtime in my classroom. My students have assigned carpet spots and assigned carpet partners. (These switch periodically to ensure students have the opportunity to share ideas with a variety of peers during read alouds.)
Students must "show" me their partner by linking hands before I begin a mini-lesson. In this way, the stage is set that peer discussion will be taking place and they need to be ready to collaborate, think, and share together! When I tell my students, "Discuss!" they immediately know who to turn to to share their ideas with. This game plan again eliminates wasted time, makes for immensely smooth transitions, and leads to a seamless and engaging carpet time!
I hope this post gave you some ideas and ways to incorporate oral language, partner teaching, and discussion into your classroom in a smooth, efficient, and effective way!
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