I have been on a 3-day co-operative learning academy and had to teach a co-op lesson to other teachers. As a nursery teacher with other early years professionals, we thought of something we would teach in nursery and rhyme was one which came into my head almost instantly.
We organised the ‘children’ in a circle and explained the social skill of turn taking and sharing resources was very important and also the academic skill of being able to recognise rhyming words. The children were given a toy and their first task was to make their rhyming pair with someone who had the rhyming partner to their toy. This is simple and could either be random or deliberate, giving specific toys to children to ensure they have to work with a certain individual. I gave this a try today and the children were a bit unsure (worked with groups of 4 children pre-school age) but after modelling I think they understood the concept.
The group last week ( from the course) had to work in pairs to create a nursery rhyme by ordering pictures and sticking them into a book. Think pair share appears to be the best fit in nursery, it gives children more thinking time and everyone gets the opportunity to answer the question, even if they don’t get to feedback to the teacher.
Today, I used syllable structure and the children had to sort the objects into 1 & 2 syllable groups. They worked together and at first some children were trying to check that it was ok with me to have another turn, I think it is something they will get used to doing though and simple enough to encourage children to talk to each other in nursery before they need to answer a question. I want to move my own practice on from ‘cold calling’ to give all children the opportunity to think and discuss their own ideas with their peers and eventually encourage them to ask each other meaningful questions. Today, they were given a question to ask to support the dialogue but with further use of think, pair, share then I am confident that they will generate their own questions and become more confident individuals.