Are you in search of group work activities for your students? Middle school students love group work activities, and they love to collaborate with their peers and friends. Students learn a lot more from collaborating with their peers than they do from lectures by an adult standing in the front of the classroom. Not to mention it is a lot more fun for them, so they are much more likely to do their best work. Check out some of these fun group work activities for middle school students.
Ideas for Group Work Activities
1. Rotating Literature Circles
A few weeks before I know I am going to begin literature circles in my classroom, I start doing book talks for 6 – 8 books that I have already read entirely to introduce different age-appropriate novels to my students. When we are ready to begin our 2(ish) week literature circle cycle, I group the students into 4s (Sometime groups are a bit bigger or smaller, but generally I try to stick to four students per group). I split the book into however many sections there are students in each group (So, if there are 4 students in a group, I will split the book into 4 equal parts).
During class time, students read their assigned section of the novel. They usually get about 6 – 7 class periods to get their reading done. When they finish reading, students write a brief summary about their reading to share with their group. Once all group members have read and shared about their section of the book, the group reconvenes to create one of the many options given to share about their book with the class. See more literature circle ideas below.
2. Probable Passages
The teacher creates a list of words, phrases or dialogue from the text that are important to the chapter, novel, or short story (without giving the story or text away). The teacher groups the students together. Next, the teacher gives the groups a list of words and short phrases and a worksheet that includes six categories: setting, characters, conflicts/problems, ending/conclusions, vocabulary, and “I Wonder“. Students are told each word or short phrase can go into only ONE category. Groups must work together to collaborate, discuss, predict, and infer where they believe these words and phrases should be placed. Once the students have all the words and phrases in the boxes, they are to write a summary statement that includes the words and phrases.
I suggest instructing students to highlight the words/phrases in their summary statement, so they know they are using them all. I always have all the groups read out their summaries, as it is so much fun to see which group comes closest to the actual events! Enjoy this Probable Passage FREEBIE!
3.Writing Brain Dumps
This is a great activity to help prevent writer’s block for a big writing assignment. Before giving the exact details of a new writing assignment, tell students what type of writing they will be composing and the subject of the content if applicable. Allow students to work in small groups to brainstorm different ideas of what they may want to write about.
4. Add Some Comedy
After reading a novel with a particularly large number of characters, put students in pairs or groups of three. Have them decide on a character they all liked from the finished novel. Then, students should work together to put that character in a comic strip of their own. Students should put the character in a silly situation and tell how they think the character would react. Students should be able to defend why they think the character would react the way they did in the comic strip to the class.
5. Placemat Activity
While this particular activity can have any variance of names, have students complete a consensus placemat. The entire class is given a question or a thought. Students are put in groups of four. On the four sides of the placemat, each student contributes their individual response to the teacher’s prompt. Then, in the middle of the placemat, students write the entire group’s consensus to the prompt.
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There are SO many different group work ideas out there allowing students to collaborate with their peers. These are just a few of my favorites. Be sure to comment with your favorite collaboration activity students do in your classroom!