I attempted something new in class yesterday! It is something that I learned about at the Summer Literacy Institute which was provided by our district. I was a little trepidatious at first because I wasn’t sure how the students would react to the plan for their first social studies quiz of the year. The instructions for the quiz were as follows: “You are going to take this quiz together, collaboratively.” Confused faces stared back at me.
The more detailed instructions were as follows: Each person gets their own paper to complete. This quiz was a fill in the blank on the Roman Empire and its rise to awesomeness! They were not allowed to fill in the answers and then just share what they had written. They had to explain why they wrote the answer they did and convince the others at their table, especially if there was any disagreement. The students also needed to whisper and keep their answers within their table group (no helping other tables :D). When everyone was done with the quiz, I collected all of the papers at each table and shuffled them. The one paper that ended up on top was the one I graded for the entire table and everyone in the group got the same score.
I LOVED the conversations that I heard! There was much debate going on. Lots of convincing had to happen for some of the questions. Everyone was engaged in the conversations and had a vested interest because they were all getting the grade of one paper from the group and they didn’t know which paper it would be.
I believe by the students having these conversations that they will remember the information and be able to utilize it in future discussions and activities. Not only that, the grades were wonderful and really boosted the confidence of my students because they were successful in collaborating! 🙂
I was pleasantly surprised by the experience and will definitely be doing it again. The next time I am going to try it by having the students write notes instead of discussing…it will have to be silent! Writing only allowed. We shall see how that goes and I will be sure to keep you all posted! 🙂