Cooperative tasks improve learning! “Robert Marzano and John Hattie both agree that getting students to work with each other helps them to achieve better results. The use of cooperative learning groups adds value to whole-class instruction.” “Bandura’s Social Learning Theory posits that people learn from one another.” When we do things together we have potential to learn more than doing individual tasks. One of the things I shared on the ISTE Ladies Road Trip (Where Lisa Dabbs, Christine Pinto, Sarah Kerns, and myself drove from LA to Chicago stopping at schools along the way for PD) was about encouraging creating cooperative tasks.
Why Open 30
I would personally rather hit myself in the head with a brick than open 30 Google Docs. I have some workflows that help manage this when I do assign students individual documents, but I try to avoid this like the plague. Yes, absolutely sometimes I need individual work from students. But oftentimes, we can accomplish this TOGETHER! I am totally making up this number, but I encourage you to switch to 20% individual, 80% cooperative or robots.
My holy grail is all students together in the same Google Slides! ONE document to open! This makes it so much easier to give feedback in real time. To share and celebrate student ideas (hit the Present button). It’s so easy! Go to slides.google.com/create (or use the phone app or go to Google Drive). Leave them blank! You can make a template but I suggest to do that rarely. Share with edit access to get all students together.
Teach Peer Feedback
Critique the reasoning of others is a form of critical thinking. Of course, this is not a natural skill for students. We have to teach them how to do this. Ask students to add a slide to the same Google Slides and then critique a peer by inserting comments with Control Alt M. Probably the comments will be “I like it” or “Good job.” Pull students in small groups to review the comments. “Does this comment help the person get better, please go to slide 8 and insert a new feedback comment that will help this student.” As my husband @bartonkeeler says, “Even JK Rowling has an editor.” We can all get better, let’s provide a tip or a challenge.
Put Your Name in the Speaker Notes
Add a slide and put your name in the speaker notes is my default directions for collaborative Google Slides. When students put their name in the speaker notes I can use Control F to find student’s names. Control F, type their name, press enter… and I jump to their slide.
TemplateTab is one of my favorite Add-ons. I use it regularly. TemplateTab puts all students in the SAME ONE spreadsheet. Quick and dirty, create Google Slides and ask students to add their own sheet. TemplateTab kicks it up a notch though and will duplicate a graphic organizer per student on your roster. You can use TemplateTab by going to alicekeeler.com/templatetab or join my betatester group (ask to join) and you can permanently install the Add-on.