Monday, September 17, 2012

Cooperative Learning - SHOWDOWN!!

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One of my ALL TIME favorite cooperative learning techniques is called, "Showdown!" When I taught middle school math I used this activity all of the time in the classroom. When my students walked in the room and saw the word showdown on the board they were always excited!

This IS NOT my original idea. I first learned about this cooperative learning technique from Laura Candler. If you don't know who Laura Candler is  you should check out her website - she has some awesome resources! After using some of her showdown resources I created some of my own to go with the content I was teaching in my classroom.

Showdowns are VERY simple, yet very effective. I always put my students in groups of 4 and had white boards, markers, and erasers at every group.

Students would receive 8 or 10 showdown task cards with specific problems from the content we are learning about. Task cards would be placed down in the middle of the desks. Students would need to decide who would be the first leader. The leader turns over the top card and reads the problem. Everyone in the group, including the leader, writes the problem on their white board. When everyone has the problem written the leader says, "Go," and everyone begins working on the problem. Once finished each student turns their white board face down. When the leader notices that everyone in the group has their white board down they say, "Showdown!" Everyone flips their board over and shares their answer. This is the most important part. If everyone gets the same answer they can assume it is correct. If not - groups need to discuss to see if someone did something wrong and HELP that student see what they did wrong. I am always walking around to make sure this is happening. The goal is to work together and make sure everyone in the group understands.

Students rotate who is the leader and go through all of the task cards. Sometimes if the content is difficult I will have the answer written on the back of the card so the leader can know for sure if the group got the answer correct.

Usually I would have the students participate in this activity AFTER I have already taught the material and we have practiced a lot. I usually used this as a final activity before moving on to the next topic. This also is a great formative assessment tool because I can walk around to see who is getting and who isn't.

Multiplication with fractions showdown:

Multiplication with decimals showdown:

Dividing with decimals showdown:

Simplifying Fractions showdown:

More to come!

Happy Teaching! :)

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