UsPlus provides curricular resources that are designed to target the development of student communication and collaboration skills.
- Deep Listening: This activity breaks down the process behind deep listening and teaches students to listen carefully to a peer and empathize/summarize at the end. This activity is primarily an exercise in listening, but it also builds up student ability to hear what someone is saying and respond appropriately. Your long-term goal is for students to internalize the traits of a strong listener. They will have the confidence and skill to engage in conversation without prompting or guidance from the teacher.
- Equitable Participation: This skill provides students with strategies to promote equitable idea sharing. By teaching students how to agree, disagree, and build off their peers’ responses, you’re providing students with supports to continue the conversation. By establishing classroom norms around speaking up and stepping back, you’re cultivating a classroom community in which all voices are heard and acknowledged.
- Expressing Academic Ideas: This skill provides students with practice expressing their academic ideas and supporting their ideas with examples from texts, the world, and one’s life. Your goal is to teach students the importance of substantiating their ideas with evidence in order to develop into more persuasive readers, writers, and thinkers.
- Giving and Receiving Feedback: Giving and receiving feedback is crucial to learning and growing as an academic and a classroom citizen. By utilizing warm and cool feedback, students will give and be given actionable feedback to hone their skills. Additionally, students will feel a sense of agency when their feedback is validated and implemented by classmates. They will develop the confidence to provide feedback to their peers and their teacher as well as the humility and skills to accept and implement feedback.
- Grounding Relationships: This activity uses questioning and group discussions to develop strong, lasting class relationships and community. Strong relationships and trust among peers and teachers lead to more productive group work, student communication, and problem-based learning activities. Your long-term goal is for students and teachers to engage in honest discussion about their ideas and feelings. As the teacher, you should then implement any feedback from these conversations into your classroom to show students you value their ideas. This shows students they are active and important players in the class ecosystem.
- Productive Disagreement: Productive Disagreement gives students five clear steps for managing a conversation in which they disagree with their conversation partner. By using this strategy, students are more likely to be calm and understanding in the face of opposition. Your long-term goal is for students to handle disagreements with poise and control. They will have the confidence and skill to engage in productive disagreement without reminders from the teacher and without becoming angry or upset.
- Supporting Peers: This skill provides students with a structure for praising and encouraging other students who exhibit positive social and academic effort behavior. This skill supports healthy social and emotional growth and strengthens the culture of a classroom community by creating an atmosphere of positive reinforcement and support. Your goal is to provide students with structures to encourage and support each other as academics and humans.
- Think Aloud Pair Problem Solve: Think Aloud Pair Problem Solve (TAPPS) breaks down the complex process of problem solving and encourages students to support their peers in the process. Your goal is for students to internalize the TAPPS framework as a natural habit of discussion and critical thinking. They will have the confidence and skill to engage in TAPPS without prompting or guidance from the teacher. Within a month, you will be able to use TAPPS as a protocol in your academic lessons.