Today I was reminded of how much I enjoy using cooperative learning in my classroom and the power of it! My fourth grade class is learning how to multiply 3 and 4-digit numbers by a 1-digit number. Yes, I am just now teaching multi-digit multiplication. We did geometry before the multiplication unit, because they weren’t fluent enough with their multiplication facts. Now that I have justified that, I want to share the power of a certain cooperative learning strategy! 🙂

This was an impromptu strategy that I wanted to test out. I introduced the strategy by telling them that we were going to “play school”. One student was going to be the “teacher” while the other one was going to be the “student”.

I asked for a volunteer to be the teacher, while I was the student. They came up to the front of the room and we modeled, to the rest of the class, how the strategy worked. I pretended that I had no idea how to multiply 345 x 5. The “teacher”, who was actually the student, had to guide me step-by-step on how to find the product.

After students got the gist, I let them go!

I did have a group of three, and I was especially proud of them! For each round of practice, there was one teacher and two students. The teacher had to multi-task (sounds like real-life) by teaching and keeping track of two students at a time!

Here is an easy-to-follow graphic with directions on how to implement the strategy.

Have you used a similar strategy in your classroom? If you haven’t would you be willing to give it a try?