Reciprocal teaching is a valuable strategy for improving reading comprehension and building communication skills. Despite the student benefits, you may be reluctant to incorporate reciprocal teaching in your classroom. The sheer number of moving parts makes it a viable candidate for a teacher’s worst nightmare. The six tools listed below will help you incorporate reciprocal teaching without all the stress and chaos that could potentially arise.
#1: Job Cards
The reciprocal teaching process officially begins after students have read a specific piece of text. Each reciprocal teaching group is composed of four different jobs: questioner, clarifier, summarizer, and predictor. Therefore, it is necessary to break students into groups of four, and pass out a job card to each student. As long as there is a card to pass out for each job, the design and look of the job cards is up to you. Passing out job cards will make it nearly impossible for students to forget their assigned role.
#2: Student Group Lists
There are many different reasons for keeping track of student groups. The reciprocal teaching process looks different in every classroom. For example, it may take you a couple days to get through the entire process, students may forget what group they are in, or you may have to deal with multiple absences. Keeping track of student groups using student list pages is a great way to stay organized. Plus, if you include a mini-rubric on your student list pages, you can walk around the room and easily record student behavior scores, which can be used later when assessing student performance and assigning a grade.
#3: Guided Student Worksheet
Quite possibly the most important tool for keeping your reciprocal teaching experience stress-free is a guided student worksheet or graphic organizer. It is essential for keeping students focused and on-task throughout the entire process. I like to break the worksheet into two parts: independent and collaborative. The independent portion requires students to prepare for their assigned task. That way, when they break into group work, they will have something to contribute. Part two of the guided worksheet requires students to work collaboratively. Setting a timer during the completion of each part of the worksheet adds urgency and helps to keep students focused on the job at hand. Groups are finished when the entire guided worksheet is completed.
#4: Reciprocal Teaching Rubric
Using a rubric will provide you with a consistent method of evaluating student performance. It will also provide students with clear expectations of the reciprocal teaching process. Reviewing a rubric before students begin working will give students a sense of accountability and remind them that they are in charge of their own grade. Generally, a reciprocal teaching rubric will track analysis, effort, behavior, and participation.
#5: Group Evaluation Form
The group evaluation form allows students to express their feelings about working in a group. It does not have to be complicated. Simply asking students to write about areas of strength and weakness should be sufficient. Additionally, filling out a group evaluation form is also a great outlet for students who may feel frustrated by their fellow group members.
#6: Self Reflection Rubric
A self reflection rubric gives students a chance to record how they felt about their performance during the reciprocal teaching process. Requiring students to complete a self assessment incorporates skills such as critical thinking, personal responsibility, failure, adaptability, and more. Learning how to successfully reflect on the learning process is a skill that reaches far beyond the process of reciprocal teaching.
The time it takes to create your own reciprocal teaching tool kit will pay off when your students remain on-task and focused for the duration of the lesson. If you don’t have time to prepare your own reciprocal teaching tool kit, click on the image or link below to download a complete kit from Literacy in Focus on TpT. As an added bonus, if you have access to technology, a digital version to use in your Google classroom is included!
-Do you use reciprocal teaching in your classroom?
-If so, is there any advice you would give to a teacher trying it for the first time?