The answer is a resounding, yes! We should absolutely allow our students to cheat. Bear with me while I explain.
As teachers we've all experienced the "class" discussion during which our five top students are engaged and contributing, while the others are slumped in their desk, playing with their pencil,doodling on their notebook or dreaming out the window. So how can we engage all our students in the discussion? Well, first we have to set all students up for success by giving them something to contribute. Letting them "cheat" before they share is a strategy I have found to work like magic in my classroom. In my classroom we call it "Treasure Takers!" and here are the steps:
1. Hand out a venn diagram, chart, or series of questions you want them to fill in to get the discussion started. Click on the picture for a free versions of editable Treasure Takers activity sheets including: venn diagrams, and blank chart. Just add your own labels and questions and your good to go!
2. Give them a limited time (a few minutes) to fill in everything that they think they know about the subject/ concept/ question to be discussed.
3. Then tell the class that that when you say " Get the Booty! " they are allowed to wander around the room and "steal an idea from another person's paper, then come back, record it and steal again from someone else until you give the signal to come back to their ship by saying, "All aboard!" Tell them they must be quiet to be sneaky as they "steal" other people's treasure....