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Collaborating is what sets us apart. A teacher will present a problem, preferably a current or at least a "real world" problem, to the class. Students will first write down what they believe the teacher is asking them to do in their own words; teachers then check for understanding of what is being asked. Students begin with initial research into the problem, and the teacher doing some scaffolding. The class then comes together and works on what they already know about the problem and what they still need to find a solution.

Students are put into teams of four and must develop a charter of understanding among themselves. Each student then goes out and finds more of the information needed, and then they come back, share and analyze what they each have found. If more work is needed, they go back and do more.

When the team feels they have all the information they need, they try to devise a solution or create a product that shows the comparison between two problems or answer whatever the teacher asks. This product or answer is then presented to the class and sometimes to the greater community, with a question-and-answer period for clarity.

Afterward, students reflect on the process, how the various team members collaborated, their performance for the team, etc. We have found that this learning process helps our students in many ways: They learn to collaborate with others, they know how to find information, they can communicate with others both verbally and in writing, they learn to persevere in pursuit of an answer, etc.

Anderson New Technology High School

Phone: (530) 365-3100

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