First, I divide my students into two groups. I have a "Teacher" group, the students that I know are really understanding the concept and can demonstrate their knowledge to another student. Then I choose my "Student" group, the students that are still struggling with the concept. When I'm making my lists, I always start with my most capable students for the teachers and my most struggling students for the students, then I work my way towards the group of kids that could go either way.
(My goal is that the teachers are not allowed to write down the problems on their shared paper. I want them to show their steps on their whiteboards to their students and discuss the problems together.)
Then, I present the lists to the students and explain the activity.
- Teachers and Students must partner up. You can choose ANY teacher or student to match up with.
- Teachers must use their whiteboards to help their students with the problems.
- Students must write all their information and work on their papers.
- Teachers will check their student's work.
- The teacher and students will receive the same grade on the assignment, so you must work together to make sure that all the answers are right.
Becoming a "Teacher" gives a huge boost to the students that are really getting the material. I have to explain carefully that being a Teacher or a Student does NOT reflect their grades and it's also a list that's NOT set in stone. I tell everyone that you can have the same chance to become a Teacher next time.
My students have fun doing the activity! I always get a kick out of the students that will tell me that they never knew how hard it is to be a teacher or the ones that will ask their new "teacher" for permission to go to the bathroom. Also, I like how my students sometimes will teach their own math strategies to their students.. I figure that for some kids, listening to how one of their peers completes a math problem might "stick" better than their regular old teacher.
(Here's a picture of them, hard at work with their "Teachers")