Trick #1

When students need to read a chapter in Social Studies or a story for Language Arts, allow them to jigsaw sections of the text with a partner or small group. When the students are done reading, they can work together to record the important information from the text on an overhead transparency. When all groups are done, they can present each section to the rest of the class. This type of teamwork brings the students closer together.

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Trick #2

Schedule an appropriate time for students to write letters to one another. This could be after finishing a test or quiz, or you could assign this idea as the journal writing prompt. If your students need more direction, make the prompt specific, like "Write a letter to someone you have not talked to today. Include a list of three things you appreciate about him/her."

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Trick #3

When students participate in service learning, they work together to find a problem in the community and try to make themselves the solution. As part of our service learning, we work with a local shelter to help take care of the animals on the weekends. Students volunteer to assist with walking dogs, bathing animals, spending time with the cats, and bringing in some necessities to help the shelter take care of the animals while working to find good homes for them. This activity has brought our students and teachers together as a community as we are able to spend time together outside of the classroom setting. This also instills a sense of responsibility for our students.

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