I'm excited to be linking up with some of my favorite grade 3-6 bloggers who are sharing our best tips to help you sail into the the new school year. We're also each giving away $50 worth of gift cards with a total value of $1000! In addition, we are each contributing one back-to-school product to a HUGE collection worth almost $300 that will be given to one lucky winner! Read on to discover the details and how you can win!
Team Formation Tips to Start the Year
If you use cooperative learning in your classroom, you might have questions about the most effective way to form teams and when you should begin to seat your students in teams. Here are some tips that worked well for me. You can find a more comprehensive explanation and answers to many more questions about team formation on my Team Formation Tips page on Teaching Resources.
- Optimal Team Size - Teams of 4 are by far the best size because you can easily divide them into 2 sets of pairs for partner work. Also, in a team of three, one student tends to feel left out, and teams that have more than four students tend to get off task easily.
- Team Composition - As much as possible, I formed teams with students of mixed ability and from different ethnic backgrounds. I wanted my students to learn to appreciate others who were not like themselves, and to be exposed to different types of thinking and values. The best way to do that was to assign them to mixed teams rather than letting them choose their teams.
- Desk Arrangement - I loved using the desk arrangement shown in the illustration above. I called it the T-Table arrangement, with the two students at the top of the "T" facing the front of the room while the other two are facing each other. You can find other team seating arrangements on my Seating Options page.
- When to Start - I always started my students in teams right from the first day because I wanted them to learn that this is how we operate. Cooperative learning wasn't just for special activities, and they needed to learn now to get along right from the start.
- Mix 'Em Up the First Three Days - I created new teams every day for the first three days so that my kids would get to know everyone and so I could observe them as they worked together. Each morning after they were reseated, we started the day with a teambuilder like Team Talk or Team Interview. You'll find these strategies and more on my Caring Classrooms page on Teaching Resources. After the first three days, I was ready to create more permanent teams that lasted a month or more.
Getting your classroom ready at the beginning of the school year can be time-consuming and costly. That's why I'm giving away TWO $25 gift cards to TeachersPayTeachers! If you win one of them, you don't have to use it in my TpT store, although I wouldn't mind if you did! :-) To enter, complete the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this page. Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions before you enter.
Grand Prize Giveaway
All of the bloggers in the link up below contributed one back-to-school item to the grand prize package shown in the image at the bottom of this post. The total value is almost $300!
Back to School Super Start Combo pack to the giveaway because I know it will be really helpful for those who want to start the year off with a bang, especially those who enjoy using cooperative learning strategies. You'll find lots of printables, tips, and ideas for classroom management, teambuilding, and classbuilding. The combo includes the Back to School Super Start Pack shown here as well as the Go for Green Classroom Management system.
How can you enter to win the Grand Prize? Just complete the Rafflecopter below and you will automatically be entered into the drawing for the two gift cards AND the Grand Prize drawing!
Smooth Sailing Into a New School Year Link Up
Each of the blogs in the link up below are hosting a different giveaway for $50 worth of gift cards, and those prizes include gift cards for Amazon.com, Erin Condren, and Really Good Stuff. All giveaways end on Saturday, August 2nd, and the winners will be announced on Sunday, August 3rd.
Be sure to visit all the blogs in the link up and enter ALL the contests, because each time you enter, you are also increasing your chances of winning the grand prize! You'll also pick up lots of great tips to help sail smoothly into the new school year!
Here are ALL the prizes in the Grand Prize Drawing, and they have a combined value of almost $300! Click on the cover images to view each item, but be sure to return here to enter the giveaway. When you enter the Rafflectopter with the TpT apple image below, you'll also be entered into this drawing. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway