Some people have been dropping hints lately that I should share a few more of my favourite co-operative learning strategies.
OK, OK I can take a hint!
Here’s one called Numbered Heads Together. To get the most out of it, you need to seat pupils in groups of 4 and of mixed ability. Each pupil will need a mini-whiteboard, and a pen that works 😉
- Pupils numbers themselves 1-4 round their table, then teacher asks the question.
- Using mini-whiteboards, pupils work individually at first to write down their best response.
- When ready, each pupil gives a thumbs up, then all stand up. They huddle together, discuss and decide upon the group’s best answer, then sit down.
- Teacher rolls a die, and which ever number it lands on (1-4), that person from each group must share their answer with the class.
- Teacher can see errors, ask pupils to explain how they reached their conclusion, ask pupils to explain errors to other groups.
Some examples of how I use this activity:
- Give the infinitive of an unknown regular verb and ask pupils to give a particular conjugation (ie getting them to apply the rule)
- Give a sentence in the present tense and ask pupils to put it into the past/future tense
- Give pupils all the words required to make a sentence, and ask them to unjumble it (very good for practising correct word order in German)
- Give four or five words or phrases, ask which is the odd one out and why (could be gender, irregular verbs, phrases in different tenses)
- Give four or five words in the target language (the dafter the better!) and ask pupils to create a grammatically correct sentence using all of the words (they can add other words, but must still use the words you supply) eg Jupiter, hatstand, monkey, George Bush.
- Ask pupils to write rules for a particular grammar point they have learned (good for starter or plenary).