Collaboration through Communication

Collaboration | Science of CollaborationFirst Action Steps | Application Strategies

Communication for Collaboration | Feedback | Reading for Understanding | Deeper Thinking & Reflection

  • Elbow Partners
    This tried and true activity is a quick way to get students into discussion pairs, maximizing time on task. If students sit in pairs or quads, they can conveniently turn to their neighbor who is their designated partner. There can also be a “Left” and “Right” Elbow partner with quads.
  • Mediation Process
    This 4-step guide teaches and supports conflict resolution by students. Teachers do not intervene until the 3rd step. Read this article for details.
  • Talk Moves
    Provide learners with this list of talking prompts that address a variety of conversation responses. Some areas include framing a respectful disagreement or agreement to asking clarifying and probing questions. Explore the options in more details in this article.
  • Think-Pair-Share
    This strategy has students go through a reflective process alone and with groups of peers. An alternative is: Pair-Think-Pair-Share
  • Clock Partners (DOC / PDF) and Contacts Partners (DOCPDF)
    Students sign-up partners. Teacher then calls out partners by stating a number. Partners get together quickly, minimizing any loss of instructional time.
  • Spider (Harkness) Discussion
    Students review and reflect on learning that has thus far taken place. They also practice communication and collaboration skills in order to successfully complete the task.
  • Establish Student-Developed Norms
    In the absence of formal norms, they exist as individual habits of mind in the classroom. Rarely does everyone follow the same unwritten rules. Ownership of the formal process for shaping norms empowers and holds accountable the students, because they make the norms.

  • Paired Verbal Fluency or Partner Talk Countdown
  1. Pair-up Partners
  2. Each pair chooses the role of Partner One and Partner Two
  3. Partner One speaks for 45 seconds on the assigned topic. Partner Two listens, and may not talk.
  4. Partner Two speaks for 45 seconds on the assigned topic. Partner One listens, and may not talk.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 each for 20 seconds.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 each for 10 seconds.

The time can be varied for each round by 5-15 seconds.