The structure we now use for our groups is called RallyCoach (Kagan, 2009). Students work in pairs. First, partner A solves, while partner B coaches. (Students need to be instructed that coaching means helping and guiding, not giving answers.) Once the problem is solved, partner B will give partner A praise and then the roles switch. Now partner B will solve, and partner A will coach. Each student is getting a turn to solve and coach.
I have mentioned on this blog before what a powerful tool peer-coaching is. Students who teach each other will retain far more than students who work alone. The RallyCoach (Kagan, 2009) structure has this powerful brain-based component built in.
For more information about Kagan please visit the website www.kaganonline.com.
Are my stations perfect now? No. However, things have dramatically improved! Now I know my kids are all engaged, I have proof of their work, and I know they are practicing correct procedures. Plus, I won't have to deal with the whole Rock, Paper, Scissors issue because the student with the lowest class number always goes first! What procedures do you use in your classroom?
Kagan, Spencer & Kagan, Miguel. (2009). Kagan Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. www.KaganOnline.com.