I am returning today to link up with The Primary Gal for chapter 3 of Learn Like a Pirate. This chapter had a lot of great information on peer collaboration.
The part of my personality that feels the need to control everything was twitching throughout this entire chapter. I loved what he had to say but at the same time I know it will be a challenge for me. I am always hovering over my kiddos ready to jump in if a problem arises. I can't think of too many situations where I let my kiddos handle their own conflicts. Most of the time I worked with that group, separated them, assigned them to different partners, you get the idea. But I like the idea of teaching them strategies to handle their own conflicts without me hovering over them. It is definitely a skill they need to learn and as Solarz is gently pointing out, letting go is something I need to learn how to do in a much greater way so that I can be a more effective teacher to my kiddos.
I love the strategies he gave to help students solve their conflicts. The first was Rock, Paper, Scissors. I can remember playing that in grade school or with my cousins because we were trying to solve a problem. I never thought to use it in the classroom but it is such a simple one to start with that most kids already know. The second strategy is compromise. Teaching my kiddos to take ideas from each other and find a way to combine them may take a little time but in the long wrong it will lead to some creative, independent thought. My favorite is Choose Kind. I love this one. It teaches students that you both have good ideas but your choosing to let another member of the team lead because it is a kind thing to do. I think all kids and even adults good benefit from this one. It also teaches them to respect each other and each others ideas. That is an awesome lesson for kids, even my little firsties, to learn.
As a final thought, I love Solarz's statement, "Our differences help us grow and change and experience new things." This is so true. When our students collaborate in groups or with partners they will learn so much from each other because they all approach things differently. Their differences will make each other stronger and more effective learners.
My students and I will be embracing many new things together next year. Letting go of this much control will definitely be an adventure for me but it is one that I am looking forward to. Talk to you all next week for chapter 4.