Thursday, January 3, 2013


Let me tell you a little bit about my class.. and I stress a little!  My little ones are bringing me quite the adventure this year.  Quirky, challenging, pushing the envelope (In good ways & bad), and of course don't forget just plain ole fun.  So here's that little bit... They stink are not the best at working together.

7 &  8 year olds

Can't work together

Would woulda thunk it?

Usually their collaborative projects involve arguments, "I don't want to work with her/him"s, He/She isn't do their part, he/she is goofing around, "But I don't WANT to do that one, I want to do this one!"  "MS G!!!" 

 My OH My, the lovely world of second grade.  It has been a real struggle helping them become fabulous collaborators.  Recently during one of our Writer's Workshops, a few of my kiddos came up to me.  They had already finished the piece we were working on and I don't make them start a new piece with the same guidelines.  If they finish, and I have approved, they are given the choice to write either another piece that goes along with our objective or anything else (Usually they finish with a day or 2 left before we're moving on anyway...)

So onward with my story- a few of my lovelies came up to me and asked if they could write a story together.. REALLY! 

My little non collaborators...

asked me...

 if they could work in a group.

DUH!!  How could I turn up a chance to see them collaborating?  And they did Ah-mazing.  The next day when some of my other little friends finished, they too asked if they could work with someone else to write a story.  WHAT? Why yes, you may!  *As my insides are jumping for joy, I remain cool, calm, and collected* The next day, as I looked around the room, I had a few kiddos with me, another couple working quietly at their desks, and the last bunch of them working in small groups, working together to write a story.  We talk SO much about adding details and writing so your reader can really picture what you are talking about that I even saw one group acting out their story!  Just so they wouldn't miss any details!  Serious awesomeness, no joke.  

Well, I just loved to see this wonderful collaborative team work and we just didn't have enough time at the end of each unit..  Plus, a few groups are working on some chapter books that they are SUPER excited about that I decided to implement... {drum roll please} 

Free Write Fridays!  

The rules are simple: 

  • You must be writing.  

  • If you choose to work in a group you must work together and solve problems in a mature second grade manner.  Make smart choices!

  • Free Write Friday is a privilege, I expect to see what you worked on after every Free Write Friday and if I feel you have misused your time I have the authority to take away this privilege from you.  

  • Have fun!
Free Write Fridays have been a GIGUNDO (Urban dictionary- it's there!) hit with my second graders.  It's so nice to see them working together and really enjoying it.  Plus, it's a great time for me to coach them on their social behaviors.. "Wow, you guys are having a difficult problem and don't agree about the name of your book, but I can see you are really working to compromise and are coming up with a plan to make everyone happy"- Compromise- see how I snuck that little word in there?  Vocabulary building too? Whaaat? Dang I'm killing like 10 birds with 1 stone (Ok, I wouldn't do that, but the idiom fits)  Free write Fridays have turned out to be such a wonderful addition to our room!

Moral of my story: If something is working, run with it.  Even if it's not what you planned, it could turn out to the best thing you did all year!  

How do you promote collaboration in your room? 


  1. Don't we all love those classes that keep us own our toes!!! Sounds like you are on your way to getting them trained in collaboration!!

  2. LOVE the Free Write Friday Idea! My kids would LOVE working together to write a story! I may just need to start this this trimester! maybe it would actually motivate my slowpokes to work a little faster!

    I am your newest follower! Thanks for the idea!

    Christina :)
    Apples, Books, and Crayons