When we hear the word collaborate, we often think of students working on a group project or helping each other in class. In reality, however, collaboration can be so much more than that. Collaboration means that each student brings his or her strengths to help the group solve problems and tackle real issues. The ability to collaborate well with others is a skill that will not only help our children be successful in school, but also in life and work.
At OCSI elementary we provide our students with opportunities everyday to develop their collaboration skills. It’s a blessing to see them learn from one another and grow as a team. Some of the ways we encourage collaboration include:
Circle times that encourage participation and group sharing (PreK).
Reading to a partner during Daily 5 (kindergarten)
Sharing our writing with a partner to get feedback before editing (1st grade).
Creating board games with a partner to reinforce math concepts (5th grade).
Designing group posters to share the setting, characters, and plot of a novel (literacy class).
Want to help your child become a better collaborator? Encourage them to listen and make eye contact during conversations, allow for unstructured play time and opportunities to be creative, and model using encouraging words so they can become an encourager as well.
At OCSI, we want our students to collaborate. We want our students to collaborate effectively, respecting others as God’s image bearers. So, we want our students to…
Work productively in groups to focus ideas and create artworks that address genuine local and global community needs.
Discuss course content with honesty and kindness.
Establish and sustain positive relationships and build Christ-centered community.
Work with others to solve problems and help each other learn.
Follow discussion guidelines.
Respect other languages and cultures.
Work in groups to serve their audience in performance and to build Christ-centered community.
Demonstrate good sportsmanship that encourages both their own team and opponents to appreciate and develop their skills.
Work productively in groups to design and carry out explorations and experiments.
Follow debate guidelines.
Use digital tools appropriately to enhance collaboration.
Make purposeful suggestions to the group, as they build Christ-centered community.
To help students grow as collaborators, we use a variety of strategies, including:
Encouraging active listening.
Assigning roles within a group.
Debriefing how group work went.
Says Michael Essenburg, head of school: “Our world needs effective, respectful collaborators. Our world needs collaborators who can serve in different cultures and make an impact for Jesus. I’m glad our students are growing as collaborators.”