Reciprocal
Learning is a cooperative learning technique that works really well for
material that students need to review and/ or practice. In reciprocal learning, students work in
pairs to coach each other through problems.
Ideally, the ‘just right’ level for reciprocal learning work is
something the students have already been taught, and can mostly do on their
own. It’s meant for material that students
are working on, but might still be making errors, having minor misconceptions,
and developing fluency with.

I’ve always
struggled to find productive ways for students to practice computation and
develop computational fluency. It can be
boring and even counterproductive, especially if kids are just rushing through
to finish. I always had a hard time
getting students to focus on the process and on accuracy. Some students would make silly errors and not
even notice. Others would know the
steps, but just needed practice to complete computation problems fluently. And still other students would get confused
if there was any kind of variation in the process, because they only knew the
steps, but didn’t have any real understanding behind it.

When I heard about
reciprocal learning, I thought: FINALLY!
an engaging solution for all that boring computation practice!

So, what is
reciprocal learning exactly?

-research-based

-cooperative
learning

-pairs coaching
each other

-students work
together to solve problems

-each ‘coach’ has
their partner’s answer key, or some way to check their work

-when one student
completes their problems, they switch roles

-works really well
for productive practice- especially for things like compuatation practice!!

Why does
reciprocal learning work?

-encourages
explaining your thinking

-students get more
individual attention than one teacher can give

-allows for
multiple strategies & flexible thinking

-provides an
opportunity for the teacher to work with a small group for reteaching or
enrichment, while other students are still actively engaged in productive
practice

-encourages
mathematical communication

-allows for
multiple strategies & flexible thinking

-encourages team
work & support

-allows for
student independence and responsibility

Here’s how to use
Reciprocal Learning in your classroom:

1. The students
work in pairs. Each student has the
answers (or some other way to check) for the other’s problems.

2. Student A works
on his or her problems. Student B
watches and ‘coaches’ them when they get stuck, make a mistake, or have a
question.

3. When the first
student completes their problems, the other student starts working on his or
her set of different problems. Their
partner now gets to watch and coach them.

4. If time is more
of an issue, the students can switch off every problem, instead of of switching
after the whole page.

5. Ideally, when
they finish, there should be a problem for them to work on together. Open-ended, higher order thinking problems
are perfect for this, especially if there are multiple solutions.

6. When the
students are mostly finished, teachers can lead strategy discussions. These can focus either on the content and sharing
strategies for these specific kinds of problems, or can be strategies for
helping your partner when they get stuck, make an error, or have a
question. Students can even do some
writing or keep a journal on these topics!

Like this idea? Try it for yourself! Get these reciprocal
learning addition practice partner pages for
FREE!!

Get these addition practice partner pages FREE!! |

Happy (computation) Teaching!!

Christine Cadalzo