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Collaborative Learning

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Dramatic Maker Space: Creative Collaboration in Drama Across the Disciplines

In this problem-based learning activity, participants will work collaboratively in small groups to create characters and dramatic scenes to enhance a literary, historical, scientific, or political unit of study. This easy incorporation of drama into the classroom is an excellent way to engage students in applied creativity and active learning. Session attendees will break into groups according to units for which they want to make collaboration guides (history, science, science, literature, etc.). They will then follow a step-by-step process for designing these dramatic units. The last part of the session will allow the groups to share their progress on Padlet, an online collaboration platform. Assessment rubrics and sample unit plans will be shared by the presenter.

Sample topics in various disciplines which might lend themselves to this activity include: Civil Rights studies, climate change, the Trail of Tears, missing narrators in Faulkner’s Sound and the Fury, Act III of Waiting for Godot, an alternate ending to Romeo and Juliet, etc.

ArtLounge: Using Art to Enhance Collaboration

In this creative thinking/inquiry activity, session attendees will explore units where students work as a team to analyze art in order to further their understanding of literature, history, or social studies units. Each group member is assigned a different task, so students have individual and collaborative assignments. Session attendees will see sample lesson plans in literature, science, and social studies classes as well as a suggested timeline and structure of this active learning activity that promotes analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content. Session participants will be grouped according to discipline to create their own assignments. The last part of the session will allow the groups to share their progress on Padlet, an online collaboration platform. Assessment rubrics will be shared by the presenter.

Literary Maker Space Using Cartonera to Enhance Global Awareness Across the Disciplines

This project-based activity will use recycled materials to create an item of self-expression based on the Cartonera, a self-publishing movement which resulted from a social and political movement in Argentina which began in 2003 and created an artistic response to enhance literacy and sustainability while making literature more accessible to everyone. Session attendees will consider the everyday realities of global sustainability and literacy as we explore the Cartonera, then design a unit for social studies, literature, or science which mirrors the efforts in many countries to bring self-expression to the masses in a sustainable and achievable way. Participants will write and bind a short poem, story, or non-fiction piece to take as an example for their classes. Sample units for student product creation might include: missing scenes for a chapter from Estha’s point of view on the caste system in God of Small Things, a first-person journal entry from someone who experienced China’s Cultural Revolution, or a primer on electrical circuits or sound waves designed especially for elementary students. Attendees will take home shared lesson plans as well as assessment rubrics.

Using Kahoot to Make Routine Fundamentals Fun 

Teaching basic rules, terminology, or elements of any discipline can be a challenge. Learning rules or definitions and then applying them can be lonely and dull – unless you make a collaborative game of it! Kahoot allows students to experience the known and the new in a safe, social environment that is competitive but without judgement.  Session attendees will play a word usage Kahoot created for a language arts class, then create their own Kahoot for science review, language acquisition, vocabulary discovery, history events, etc.

Using Padlet for Student Collaboration Across the Disciplines

This session will focus on Padlet, a free and secure online platform designed for collaboration. Padlet is useful in many disciplines for discussion, review, prewriting, creative thinking, sharing images or notes, and collaboration. Session attendees will explore Padlets used by other teachers, then learn to create their own Padlet templates for units they teach such as identifying utopian ideals in social studies, engaging in silent discussions about cloning in science, analyzing characters in literature, sharing review problems in math, using visuals to learn vocabulary in psychology, etc.

Using Artifacts for Student Collaboration in Creative Writing

“Every object has a story to tell if you know how to read it.”  – Henry Ford

Attendees will explore the 40-word dash, an exercise for creative writing where students are paired, given an object, and asked to describe the object in 40 words or fewer using a controlling metaphor. This use of artifacts to connect students to any unit of study is an excellent way to engage students in applied creativity while giving them the chance to hold a bit of history or another culture in their hands. Artifacts used in this creative writing exercise can bring history or culture alive: barbed wire used in 19thcentury warfare, the kola nut mentioned in the novel Things Fall Apart, cotton bolls discussed in a unit on renewable resources, skeleton keys as typical relics of home life in the early 20th century, the drop spindle to facilitate discussion about the roles of women in society throughout time. This exercise is an excellent way to engage students in active learning through collaboration and creative writing. The descriptions and images of objects discussed in this session will be shared on Padlet, an online collaboration platform. Assessment rubrics for the creative writing product will be shared by the presenter.

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