Teaching Students to Work Cooperatively

Today’s world is a mass of inter-connectivity. Working collaboratively is an essential skill that must be nourished and fostered in order to succeed in such an environment.

How to work as a team does not come naturally to an egocentric kindergartner. It is something that must be taught and practiced. Intentional “Teamwork” activities allow students to work together for a shared benefit. Such activities will not only provide collaborative experiences, it will build many other social and emotional aspects of a student's self including:  Self-management, social awareness, self-awareness, responsibility, decision making, caring about others, contributing, relationship skills, and more.

Today we had a lesson on “Teamwork.” After learning the vocabulary words opinion and decision, we did some role-playing that provided opportunities for students to practice coming to a group consensus.  We then read “What’s the Big Idea Molly,” by Valeri Gorbachv.  Next I divide the class into groups and asked the groups to each make an animal that lives in the jungle.  I then reminded the students to listen to each other’s opinions and decide how they would construct the animal.

At the conclusion of the activity we had a debriefing. I asked the students what types of strategies their group used to complete the animal.  I listed their responses.

This was a great activity. And only one child cried! He was pretty mad that his group made the lion a girl lion instead of a boy. This was a great opportunity to talk about consensus. Even though it was not his opinion, he could support the group decision. And, everyone loved the finished product!