Singer, Dorothy G. (2002). Team Building in the Classroom.
Scholastic Early Childhood Today, 16 no6, 36-41
This article discusses tips and strategies for promoting cooperative learning and teaching student’s cooperative social skills. The teacher in this article tells how her students have learned to independently problem solve and cooperatively work together.

In order to help students move past “just sharing”, the article lists the following strategies to teach respect and cooperation:
  • Listening carefully to children so that each feels respected and sure of his or her place in the classroom.
  • Encouraging children to share ideas and ask questions of one another.
  • Creating an environment where children share ideas and ask questions of one another.
  • Creating an environment where children feel safe, both physically and emotionally, so that they are free to express themselves.
  • Making classroom rules together so that all children in the group are investing in the smooth functioning of the classroom community.
  • Using group time to talk about issues that arise during the day.
  • Encouraging children to look to one another for ideas and support.
  • Modeling cooperative and collaborative behaviors throughout each day.
With these strategies children can build the foundation needed for becoming cooperative students.
In order to help students learn to respect the ideas of others “Circle of Friends” is a good activity. This activity begins with students forming a circle. Two students enter the middle of the circle and use puppets or dolls to act out scenes about topics like sharing, taking turns and problem solving. An adult can ask questions like “How can the puppets become good friends?” “How can the puppets both play the game?” This activity also promotes the use and development of language.
During free play, the teacher can place puzzles and other manipulatives at tables for two or three. This promotes group and partner work. Use classroom chores such as clean up and snack set up to teach students helping and cooperative skills.
The article listed how important and beneficial cooperative learning was in the early childhood classroom. Increased motivation to learn, improved academic achievement as well as increased liking for school. The author of the article gave tips about how to set up the environment to promote cooperative learning. The activities from the article such as Pair Up and Probe and Circle of Friends seem to be variation of Circle of Speakers/Writers and Think Pair Share.