Thursday, July 7, 2016

Collaborating While Playing

Chapter 5
Playing Together: Teaching Kids to Collaborate and Negotiate

Imagine sitting in training and everyone is sitting side by side and not saying a word. Imagine a classroom where children are playing with blocks and not saying a word to each other while playing. That would be working and playing with no collaboration. In order to be successful in life, we need to learn to collaborate. What better way to teach collaboration to our students than through play?

Collaboration: An Exploration
Common Core Standards state that students must be able to work and communicate with other people in an effective way. Collaboration enhances student learning.

Play Means Learning to Collaborate
In order to collaborate effectively, we need to develop interpersonal intelligence. Interpersonal skills can be developed over time and what better way than through play. Play is a natural way for children to solve problems, control their impulses, understand their emotions, see perspectives of others, understand differences, and learn to get along with others. There is no other way for children to learn these skills than through play. Self-chosen free play allows our students to make decisions and work collaborative to make those decisions. Organized sports activities do not allow students to make the decisions as adults usually determine what roles each child is playing.

Collaboration Means Learning to Self-Regulate
Collaborative play has many benefits. Children learn to balance their needs with their classmates. Our students are learning self-restraint when playing. They may want to play a certain game or play with a certain object yet their classmates may want to do something different. They will have to restrain their feelings and work together to play.

Collaboration Means Learning to Communicate
Another aspect of learning that is enhanced during play is language. As our students take on different roles, they are learning different language structures, such as persuasion. Our ELL students can benefit immensely through play. As they build, act, and draw they are talking in a risk free environment which will enhance their language skills.

Exploring Empathy Collaboration and Negotiation in Play
This section is to help us think of ways to focus on collaboration in the classroom.
Focus Area: Playing Together Means Working and Thinking Together
Within the first few minutes of the first day of school, we can easily determine what our students know about working together. We can determine this when we ask them to sit on the carpet. We can also see it when they have choices to make at recess, lunch, and free play. We just need to observe our students and what they know.
When children need:
Basic problem solving
What we might teach:
-Problems come in different sizes and need different solutions
-Using “I” messages
-Using a problem-solving chart
-Simple ways to solve disputes

When children need:
More sophisticated conversational skills (listening, clarifying, and disagreeing politely)
What we might teach:
-Rules of active listening
-Questions to get more information
-Sentence frames to agree/disagree/add on

When children need:
Help collaborating within a center
What we might teach:
-Making a to-do list for the jobs in a center
-Looking at books for story ideas and negotiating the roles from the book
-Varied planning sheets to problem solve ideas

Curriculum Connections: Collaboration and Negotiation

Group Brain Power
As we teach our students to collaborate in play, we a teaching them to listen, ask thoughtful questions, and value ideas. This enhances their brains to strengthen their ideas.

Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening are the foundational skills for our young readers and writers. It is also a fundamental skill in collaborating. When our students are talking to each other, they are asking questions, discussing topics, and processing what others are saying. Through play, we are teaching our students to listen and read body language, empathy, and hearing what others are saying.

One way to incorporate collaboration in reading is through working with partners. Students will be able to read, think, talk, explore, play, teach, and collaborate with each other while working on their reading skills.

In writing, our students can collaborate by listening to each other’s ideas, offer compliments, ask for help, read each other’s writing, and even coauthor together.

By providing math centers, our students learn in the same way to collaborate as in reading.

Social Studies
In Social Studies, our students will be able to explore a topic through reading, photos, videos, and discussion.

What are some ideas you have from this chapter?

Don’t forget to join me on my book study on play by reading Purposeful Play. Find it  HERE. 


cdoyle said...

This is what "life" is all about...Collaboration with others. It is so important that we help students learn this Life skill.

Mary McGough said...

I agree life is collaborating with others. The skills taught through play cannot be replicated via other means. Students learn to ask for help and give help through play, The lesson is invaluable in any play based activities.