How to encourage teamwork in the classroom
You probably remember school growing up. You sat in neat rows and tossed notes to your friends a few spots away. By 2 p.m., you likely stared out the window wondering when you could leave.That's not to say all lessons are dull, but our teamwork ideas can definitely spice things up at school. Not only does working with others help engage students, but it also provides them with opportunities to develop valuable skills they'll use in college and careers. For instance, our team building ideas for kids teaches collaboration, critical thinking and communication. With that in mind, here are some ways to encourage students to work in groups:
A day of playing social studies "Jeopardy" or math baseball is certainly more fun than calculating equations, and it offers your class a chance to work in teams. Create or find team-based games that fit well into your lesson plans - fun is good and all, but the game has to help teach the students.
Split the class into the appropriate number of teams, and give everyone an opportunity to talk about the answers with their peers. That way, students can discuss, analyze and problem-solve together.
Outline behavioral rules
Students are more likely to feel comfortable with teamwork if they know others are supportive. If a few students constantly act out, their peers may not feel safe collaborating. Make it clear from the beginning of the year that your classroom is a team environment and students will have to work together often. Let them know what you expect and the consequences of failing to behave appropriately. Students should feel safe sharing their ideas and even making mistakes.
Provide an outlet
Whenever students work with their peers, they may need a brainstorming space where they can see problems they're working on and try various approaches to solving them.
For instance, you could hang a stick-on whiteboard in your classroom. This tool is easy to install and remove, and can be manufactured to your room's specifications. That way, it will fit perfectly without any work on your part. What's more, installation is easy and you can hang it anywhere - no need to find studs.
Should you choose a WriteyBoard product, make sure to stick it to the wall at a good height for your students. Many standard whiteboards are too high for young students to reach, but you can install your WriteyBoard lower so its easy for your students to solve problems.
Whenever you have your students work on a group project, encourage them to jot down their ideas on the whiteboard. You can even keep score for games on the dry erase board as well.