I am so excited to share an idea I saw demonstrated by Stephani VanGroll and Greg Verhagen, co-teachers in Little Chute, WI. They created a version of “Phone a Friend” to use with students during a review for the upcoming math test.
Here's how to do if for your students.
1. Provide each student with two Ziploc bags, both labeled with their names or initials.
2. Using two different colors of paper, print out Phone a Friend and Phone a Teacher slips. Give every student several of each.
3. Have students write their names or initials on the backs of their slips and place them in one of the two bags.
(Greg and Stephani had created on-line documents with multiple-choice questions at three different levels. Each student was sent a link to the leveled questions designed for them, and they opened these on their Chrome Books. If they answered a question incorrectly, it would suggest that they might want to phone a friend before trying again. However, this strategy can work on paper and pencil reviews or other projects, too.)
4. Explain to students that if they are struggling to get a correct answer to a review question, they can phone a friend or a teacher. To do this, they take one of their slips to the friend and place it in that friend’s second bag.
5. Encourage students to seek out a variety of friends, rather than always going to the same person.
At the end of the lesson, Stephani and Greg collected the student bags and could see who sought help, and what the patterns of student interaction were. This activity can provide interesting data regarding peer relationships, which students are seen as possible resources and whether students are making sound decisions about who to seek out for help.
Thanks to Stephani and Greg for this great idea!