Research shows that students working in cooperative and collaborative teams to solve a problem (in this case, create an argument) benefit from working with peers. Research by Kagan (1989) confirms that “creation, analysis, and systematic application of structures” in the classroom increase student engagement with a lesson. Similarly, collaborative learning supports students in constructing knowledge around a lesson together, resulting in increased higher order thinking, increased student ownership over learning, and increased understanding of multiple perspectives. Using structures that encourage students to cooperate and collaborate in developing literacy skills will develop students’ growth mindset while creating an inclusive and positive class environment.
To support these efforts in your classroom, here is one way to assign meaningful roles to students working in pairs or groups on steps of the Applied Reading and Writing Lessons. You can incorporate these resources as accountability measures for the day’s work, as a formative assessment of a group’s analysis of a text, and as a source of student-generated questions to start the next lesson. Each student role has varying levels of challenge for different students, and with clear framing, students can see the value and benefit of each member to the team.