25 Replies Latest reply: Jun 1, 2012 6:46 AM by ajbrown@musd20.org RSS

Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning

hfawcett Expert
Currently Being Moderated

Chapter 7 is focused on Cooperative Learning!

 

Many of you have been discussing Kagan strategies and structures already!  I’m so pleased as we are bringing official Kagan training to the district for our September professional development day!!  They are sending 2 trainers; one for elementary and one for secondary.  Each campus recently developed a “cooperative learning and student engagement team”, that will help us implement the strategies and structures.  Each campus will also receive a small library of Kagan support materials.  That being said Marzano does have a few differences but is fairly consistent with the Kagan philosophy.  I love the Kagan strategies and structures and have been to 4 of their trainings; I’ve implemented them with both kids and adults and I must say the engagement is amazing!  We as adults often grumble and complain about professional developments but I have seen much more engagement in using the structures than previously when I did not.  I believe the biggest thing in implementing cooperative learning is to explicitly (there’s that word again ) teach our students what their roles are and how the structure is expected to work.

 

Assignment:

1. Pick 2 of the 5 defining elements from the chapter and share with us the importance of each in the successful use of cooperative learning.

2. Share with us 1 time that you had GREAT success with cooperative learning…topic, activity, age of students…and why you feel that it was so successful. 3. Share with us 1 time that cooperative learning did not work for you and why you think it didn’t.  You know the time that wished never happened and pure chaos ensued….we all have at least one. 

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    srhinehart@musd20.org Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I am totally excited about Kagan and am doubly excited that the district is bringing Kagan in.  I've been to about 10 days of training in total and love it.  Best professional development ever!

     

    Anyway....

    1. Pick 2 of the 5 defining elements from the chapter and share with us the importance of each in the successful use of cooperative learning.

    • Positive Interdependence:  One of my favorite parts.  This builds teamwork and teaches students to get along with others.  This is a lifelong skill and will carry them forward in all that they do through school and into the work force.  Each person is held accountable and also relies on their peers for success.  I think this is extremely powerful.
    • Face to Face Promotive Interaction:  applauding successes and efforts of each other.  This is so important because it comes from the group.  It is that much more powerful because it doesn't come from me.  Ive seen regular medium to high level kids telling a streetwise SPED student how smart they are and genuinely meaning it from the interaction of a cooperative group structure.  Talk about seeing a student physically lifted by the words of another.  (One of my most favorite teaching memories!)

     

    2. Share with us 1 time that you had GREAT success with cooperative learning…topic, activity, age of students…and why you feel that it was so successful.

    • I've had lots of success with cooperative learning so narrowing it down to one is difficult.  Right after I first attended a Kagan Cooperative Learning workshop, I knew I had to bring it into my second grade classroom.  It was overwelming to know where to start so I picked something I thought was fairly easy...maybe a little noisy...but manageable.  I did a "Find Someone Who..." with a review worksheet in math.  The sheet covered many topics and was meant as a review before a test.  I had the students up and finding partners to "Find someone who knew the answer to each question."  The engagement in the classroom was wonderful and the conversations about math were rich.  Students were explaining to each other why the answers were correct.  My low kids were then taking that knowledge and teaching it to someone else.  Great review!  I believe it was successful because each student knew something they could share, they were using their social skills, and they were not put on the spot for one answer in front of the class. 

     

    3. Share with us 1 time that cooperative learning did not work for you and why you think it didn’t.

    • When I first started teaching, I can remember working on state reports.  I put the students into groups and gave what I thought were clear directions.  I grouped them somewhat homogenously because I thought it would be easier for me to spend my time with one group rather than many.  I think that was the downfall right there.  Now I group heterogenously and make sure the roles of each student are clearly defined.  I plan for less "hogs and logs" in the group and hold each person more accountable for the end product.
    • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
      khiers@musd20.org Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      It caught my attention when you said you gave what you thought were clear directions. I laughed to myself because I know that this is so important, and have also had moments when something didn't work because the directions were not clear. I must always remind myself to be clear so that each person in the group knows what is expected of them!

    • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
      shilsinger Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      I really like your idea of "Find someone who.." This would be a great way to review. I will definitely be borrowing this idea. And I agree with Kelly,  I sometimes think I give clear directions but then the activity doesn't go the way I envisioned it.

    • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
      reneehoskins Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Stephanie,

       

      I love your comment about seeing the face-to-face promotive interaction in your classroom.   I think it is great to hear/see how "typical" medium to high students are able to truly acknowledge the strengths of some of our SPED kiddos.  I know that my SPED kids can often feel left out and not able to participate in these kinds of groups when in the general education classroom.  I think that it is wonderful when students can recognize what one another are truly able to do and that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.  This kind of recognition from other students does wonders for some SPED students! 

    • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
      ajbrown@musd20.org Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      It's so funny to read that you thought you had given 'clear directions' because that is what I mentioned to. I also mentioned about first year teaching mistakes and so its funny you said that when you were first starting to teach. It's almost like a part of that first year that I make the mistake of not giving clear directions when you think you have and realize you have not. That is really funny, thanks for sharing.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    jlarsen@musd20.org Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I believe that Face-to-face promotive interaction and individual/group accountability are the 2 of the more important elements in the success of cooperative learning. The students in my class seem to get more from the activity with the support of their peers. This year I have really focused on the students being able to explain/defend themselves to their group mates. That has opened up the cooperative learning experience and really seemed to get their little minds working. My students seemed to be more concerned that their peers understand why they think what they think and how they got there, than any opinion I have. Just being able to listen in on some of the conversations these kids have is amazing. I don’t think I would have gotten most of the responses the groups had, had I just done more directed instruction lessons. I was also able to gage what their level of understanding was and address it in a non-threatening way for them. Accountability is also very important. I am constantly switching between group and individual accountability. There are even times when I have both.

    One of my biggest concerns with cooperative learning is making sure all students are participating, learning, and are getting the most out of the learning experience. One of my more memorable cooperative learning activities this year just occurred and was in reading. After reading a story on students who painted a school mural, I split my kids into groups of 3 and charged them with coming up with a school mural for our school. They had to write about what their mural would be about with descriptive details and then had to state why they chose what they did. They then had to create a miniature size mural and present it to the class. You would have thought this was the best thing ever if you went by students work and behavior. All students were engaged, I had no behavior problems, no tattles and all students were genuinely excited to share what they had accomplished.

    I can’t think of a specific cooperative learning activity, that went badly, enough to describe it. I know I have had them. They are the opposite of the experience I wrote about above, students not working, students arguing, students tattling and so on. I have even had a couple where I completely stopped the activity and moved on. I don’t remember what caused each of the activities to go wrong but it could have been that I was not clear in my expectations, it could have been the way I grouped my kids, it could have been the sheer make-up of my class, it could have been the activity itself, who knows? I think most of the issues arise with the grouping of my students. there are times that I have to be very careful with the grouping of my students.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    khiers@musd20.org Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Face to face promotive interaction: helping each other learn, applauding success and efforts. Teamwork is very important to me. My groups are even called “teams”. I hope to teach my students to help and cheer for each other’s accomplishments. I think that shows good character. I enjoy listening to my students working in their teams. Most of the time, their discussions are on topic and they are working productively together.

     

    Individual and group accountability: each of us has to contribute to the group achieving its goals. When my teams are completing a group assignment, I like to give everyone a “job”. Then, each person is responsible for helping and has his own task to complete. 

     

    One time when cooperative learning worked well was a weather project that we did in Science. Each student identified a type of weather and had to share with his group. Then, they created a weather poster together to share and display with the class.

     

    If I reflect on my groupings not working well, I think about this past school year. Because my class size is large, my teams were organized in groups of 6. The chapter suggested keeping groups small, three to four members. I think that I will try to do this next year, even if I have a large class again. I can find a way to organize the space to make it work. I hope that this might help with behavior problems and talking.

    • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
      rshoup@musd20.org Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Kelly,

       

      Teach the social skills needed to work in a group.  This comes from an inservice I attended my second year of teaching.  It's the best thing I ever learned about cooperative learning.

       

      When the students are in set groups, walk around and document talk about the topic.  Here's how:

      1. Use an transparency for an overhead (old style) projector (Can use document camera or tablet).  Draw 3 columns: Groups, task talk, and examples.  If needed add a column for behavior.

      2. As you monitor groups, catch them being good/on task.  If hear task talk, put a + under Task Talk.  Write snippets of what's said under examples.

      3. Listen to the group you are not watching so students don't change the topic when you're around.

      4. Give yourself time at the end of the activity to discuss the chart.  Explain what you did  and focus on the positive examples.  The key is to focus on the behavior and talk you want to see and hear.  Do this several times to establish behavior and then can do it intermittently.

       

      I model working in groups using a demo group first.  There are also videos online about working in groups.  Start with pairs and work up to four in a group.

      • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
        jseaman@musd20.org Apprentice
        Currently Being Moderated

        Robin,

         

        I loved your comments about modeling good group work for students, as well as using the Internet to provide examples of what good group work should look like. I know that sometimes my collaborative efforts in my own classroom have failed because I did not prepare my students enough for what to expect and how to interact.  I also agreed with focusing on the positive aspects of their behavior to help maintain goal oriented conversations and productive learning!

    • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
      jlarsen@musd20.org Novice
      Currently Being Moderated

      It is hard to keep the groups at a samll size with such large classes. We end up with 6 or 7 groups which makes spacing out an issue as well. 2nd graders like to have their own space and don't like it when other groups are in their area.

      • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
        mmcdonald@musd20.org Apprentice
        Currently Being Moderated

        Jaime Larsen wrote:

         

        It is hard to keep the groups at a samll size with such large classes. We end up with 6 or 7 groups which makes spacing out an issue as well. 2nd graders like to have their own space and don't like it when other groups are in their area.

        Jaime, I totally agree.  I did the groups of four in my classroom so that I could do the whole "Face partner/Shoulder partner" deal, and had 7 groups...not much room for anything else.  Of course with 28 students, there's not much room anyway...

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    shilsinger Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I believe the face-to-face promotive interaction and interpersonal and small group skills are very important. These helps the students learn to work together, a very important real life skill. Students learn to communicate, make decisions, and take leadership roles. And I believe that sometimes the students learn better from each other. This year in math I have really focused on my students explaining their thinking and defending their answers. I have noticed this helps the other students understand as well.

     

    During a summer school sessions with third graders we were studying the different countries in the Caribbean. Each group was picked a different island and researched it in the computer lab. They had to create a poster and present their information to the rest of the class. I think this activity was a success because I didn't rush it and it was very structured. I explained to them what information they needed to included and gave the students precise directions of what was expected of them each day.

     

    I can't think of one activity in general that I struggled with, all though I know there have been many. I know that I have rushed activities, or given directions that I thought were clear but the students didn't understand. Sometimes when I use an alternative way to group students like the book suggests, two students end up together that can't work together so I have to shift groups.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    rshoup@musd20.org Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    1. Pick 2 of the 5 defining elements from the chapter and share with us the importance of each in the successful use of cooperative learning.

    Interpersonal and small group skills: The group won't function with communication and conflict resolution.  Group decision making is something that needs to be worked on.  I see dominant students make the decisions.  Others zone out or don't want to speak up.  It's about learning manners that help a person function within a family, community, or workplace.

    2. Share with us 1 time that you had GREAT success with cooperative learning…topic, activity, age of students…and why you feel that it was so successful.  Share a failure.        I love literature circles.  I did them for several years with seventh grade students following the model from the book In the Middle.  The most memorable cooperative learning lesson was the first attempt at cooperative learning after I had attended a cooperative learning inservice.  I was required to implement it in the classroom and report back.  I designed a two day reading lesson. The first day my students were so loud the students in the next classroom couldn't think!   Good humored but pep assembly loud.  The students were mostly on task, but it wasn't something I wanted to repeat.  The second day was great.  The voices were moderated; students had great conversations, and students who did very little work--worked!   I decided I can do this .

     

    During the group activity,  I walked around and did the catch them on task strategy I shared in my response to Kelly.   I did add another column called One Desk Length Voices.

     

    3.  When cooperative lesson plans have failed is when I don't prep the students enough: instructions, modeling, demos, feedback. I have also learned I can't teach someone else's cooperative learning lesson without rewriting or reworking it.  It's like I haven't thought through the potential problems.  I don't own it.

    • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
      qwright Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      I agree with you 100% on the reasons why cooperative learning or any strategy for that matter will fail. It is all about the pre-planning, prep, and thinking through the potential problems that may occur.

      • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
        srhinehart@musd20.org Apprentice
        Currently Being Moderated

        The preplanning is definitely key.  I hate to bring up Kagan AGAIN, but one of the things I love about it is that the structure is being taught and then that structure can be adapted.  For example, one of my favorites is called Mix, Freeze, Group.  Basically, the students walk around the room usually to music (Mix).  When the music stops, they stop. (Freeze)  I ask a question that has a choice of solutions with a number of people they should group with.  Students decide on their own which answer they think is correct and when I say group they find people who think similarly.  Once the structure is taught it can be adapted.  I've used it in all subject areas.  We review the structure briefly beforehand and away we go.  Lessens the planning time.

         

        Obviously, more involved projects need more planning.  This is just an example of how Kagan makes Cooperative Learning accessible for teachers too.

        • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
          aball@musd20.org Apprentice
          Currently Being Moderated

          Stephanie Rhinehart is my cooperative groups mentor.  I had the privilege of working with her during the 2010/2011 school year at BES in 2nd grade.  I remember her sharing all these awesome games and co-op group ideas with the team.  I admit, I was a little skeptical at first.  When I finally gathered enough gumption to try one out, it went amazingly well!  Steph is right, the key is careful planning and organization of the materials and students.  

      • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
        karierussell Apprentice
        Currently Being Moderated

        Pre planning is essential.  When I try to just throw in a cooperative learning element to a lesson at the last minute, I know it doesn't go as well as if I had taken the time to think specifically how I would use it.  Knowing the different Kagan structures is good, but they will work better if you take the time to plan it out as opposed to just running with it.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    qwright Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Assignment:

     

    1. Pick 2 of the 5 defining elements from the chapter and share with us the importance of each in the successful use of cooperative learning.

     

    1. Positive Interdependence- This element is very important because it promotes collaboration amongst the team members. The students are encouraged to work together to reach a common goal.

     

    2.Face-to-Face- This element is important, because often times students can learn better from a peer than they can from an adult. I like the idea of students working together and helping each other build understanding.

     

    2. Share with us 1 time that you had GREAT success with cooperative learning…topic, activity, age of students…and why you feel that it was so successful.

     

    Topic Math: Similarities and Differences

     

    Activity Classifying and Grouping Shapes: Students worked in groups to group shapes according to similarities and differences, and they also had to determine the rule that applied.

    Ages: 7 and 8

     

    I felt that the activity was successful , because the majority of the students were participating, engaged, and were able to complete the task.

    3. Share with us 1 time that cooperative learning did not work for you and why you think it didn’t. You know the time that wished never happened and pure chaos ensued….we all have at least one

    There have been many times when I have attempted to promote cooperative learning, and things didn't quite work out as planned. In every case where this has happened it has always been a direct result of lack of pre-planning. The more thought you put into a lesson, the better planned out it will be, and usually when lessons are thought out carefully; the result=success.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    jseaman@musd20.org Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Assignment:

    1.

    Face to Face Promotive Interaction - This element is perhaps the most important because it requires students to rely on their social skills to provide a positive and goal oriented learning environment.  This concept goes hand in hand with our pillars of character that I try to entwine into lessons whenever possible. I feel that it is important that students learn how to work together and work through their differing opinions in an environment where they feel safe and supported to take those risks.

     

    Interpersonal and Small Group Skills - Again this element supports the idea of using our character counts goals to organize groups in a fashion that gives students the ability to try out different roles ,for example by using a Kalgan strategy each student would take turns being a leader and communicator, nobody would get the opportunity to just sit back because the others would be trusting them to do their part.

     

    2. One of my best group work activities was quite recently. My kindergarten students, most of whom are 6 at the end of the year, we're continually asking me how many days of school were left. After several days of them asking, we brainstormed ways to keep them from asking, and teach them the knowing, so they all concluded that we should make a paper chain, with one link representing each day left in the school year.  One of my students raised their hand and noted that she had no idea how to make a paper chain, several students began giving thumbs up to agree that they too did not know how to complete this task.  I placed them in groups that consisted of both boys and girls, and differing abilities.  I did not give them any instructions, but I did provide them with supplies.  It was very interesting to see that some groups worked together to make one continual chain, forming different roles themselves, one person became the recorder that wrote a tally mark to signify how many links had been added to the chain, and communicating the number they were at.  Others became the glues and organizers, and yet others organized the paper into patterns. Without instruction they formed their roles out of creativity, need, and habit.    Yet other groups had each student work on a chain by themselves, creating the problem of how to get the chains together in the end.  In the end my 4 groups provided me with 4 chains, each exactly 28 links long.

     

    3.

    Although there is no specific time that comes directly to mind when I think of failed group lessons, I do acknowledge that their has been plenty.  Most of the time my groups have failed because of poor preparation of my students, or a misse dacknowledgement of a skill or lack of skill that made a group fall apart.  It is important to create a clear and concise goal when creating groups, but it is also necessary that students truly understand the goal as well as the purpose for learning it.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    karierussell Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    OK, I finally made it back to chapter 7.

     

    Assignment:

    1. Pick 2 of the 5 defining elements from the  chapter and share with us the importance of each in the successful use  of cooperative learning.

    I am going to step outside of my comfort zone and talk about 2 that are important and that I could improve upon myself.

    1. Individual and group accountability- This is important because if not all members are pulling their weight- if they are not, they aren't getting what they need from the activity, their peers are left holding the bag to complete the assignment without help, and students can become frustrated and angry.


    2. Share with us 1 time that you had  GREAT success with cooperative learning…topic, activity, age of  students…and why you feel that it was so successful.

    GREAT success seems like an overstatement.  I feel that I am still learning and working out the kinks. I was lucky to be sent to 2 days of Kagan training last year.  It was pretty close to the end of the year so I did not get much practice before summer break.  Then I started early on this year and I have had mixed success with it.  I think that my students have enjoyed it, I do think that it would have been more effective if I had used it more often than I did.  I was definitely in no danger of overusing!  I was lucky to work with Stephanie Rhinehart, who gave me ideas on how to modify some of the structures using worksheets, etc..I heard the Kagan trainer tell us we could use the structures in other ways, I read that I could modify them to meet my needs.  My problem was that I really needed to see it in order to do it.

     

    3. Share with us 1  time that cooperative learning did not work for you and why you think it  didn’t.  You know the time that wished never happened and pure chaos  ensued….we all have at least one.  Back when I was new to teaching, and my classroom management skills were still developing to say the least I tried to use some of the activities that we had learned in our methods classes that the instructor had used on us.  The only one I could really remember well enough was the jigsaw.  So I assigned 5th graders to read part of the text book and put together posters and present the information to the class.  I also felt I had given fairly clear directions on what they were to do.  However, I did not model it for them, I did not provide any visual examples of what I might have expected their posters to look like, and I did not give them a copy of the rubric that I was going to use to score them.  I asked them to rate the participation of the other members with no clear guidelines on how they should do that either.  The assignments were not very good- they turned their backs to the class and read their posters into the white board.  I doubt anyone got anything out of it other than maybe the part of the topic they researched themselves.  It was a waste of time.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    scorbin@musd20.org Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Cooperative learning allows students to interact with each other in a structured setting with guidelines. I think that the face to face promotive interaction is a critical element. This element allows students to use their social skills to support each other, encouraging each other, and celebrating the achievements of the group and the individuals. The other element is the Individual and group accountability- this is important because as with any group work it seems that one person ends up doing the lion's share of the work. Using this type solves that problem, make each student accountable for a certain part of the lesson. I try to always group my students in a heterogenous mix. I think that it is important for students to be able to support each other and learn from each other and I think this type of group works best. One of my most successful group project this year with my fourth graders, was "Rock Classification", student were so excited to do this and they all participated in their groups. My least successful group project was with a group of 6th graders, "Bridge Construction", the students were not able to work together well and there was alot of disagreements about how to construct the bridge. Probably too many strong personalities in each group. Great class, very motivated but a lot of leaders who didn't want to listen to others ideas.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    reneehoskins Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    1.  Individual and group accountability-  I feel that this is extremely important in the use of groups for cooperative learning.  The entire group must realize that each individual has to contribute in order for the group to be successful.  The individual accountability leads to group accountability.  The group is able to make sure that each individual is doing their share of the work and help to make each person accountable for their own part.  The group succeeds as a whole or fails as a whole.  The students then feel a sense of accomplishment for each doing their part to make the project/assignment successful.

     

        Face-to-face promotive interaction-  I think that this is a wonderful tool for helping to keep students engaged and excited about learning.  Sometimes it just takes one time of a student giving another student positive reinforcement for a job well done to keep that student active and engaged.  Often these accolades from peers weigh far more than from a teacher.  Students often work so hard to "fit in" and will do their best just to feel a sense of belonging to a group.  It really is wonderful to see students applauding the efforts of one another.

     

     

    2. & 3.  As an elementary resource teacher that teaches grades kindergarten through 2nd grade I feel that cooperative learning (as it is described-being able to group students heterogeneously) is not something that we can do in my resource classroom.  I usually have fairly small groups when teaching a particular subject and this in turn leads to almost all learning as some type of cooperative learning, as the groups are small and often they work together.  We use "think-pair-share" in class sometimes, but do not do many of the more elaborate cooperative learning groups.

     

    I would love to hear if anyone has any great ideas for use of cooperative learning in a small group elementary resource setting where all groups would be homogeneous.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    aball@musd20.org Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Assignment:

    1. Pick 2 of the 5 defining elements from the chapter and share with us the importance of each in the successful use of cooperative learning.

    While I agree that each of the 5 elements carries its own importance, I especially connect to the face-to-face promotive interaction and interpersonal and small group skills elements.  I think before any group, adult or child based, can be successful, each member must know, understand and be able to carry out his/her part.  Each member needs to be an integral role of the community and work through the problems that arise, which are inevitable during group work.  These are real-life skills that are essential to build in our young learners.

     

    2. Share with us 1 time that you had GREAT success with cooperative learning…topic, activity, age of students…and why you feel that it was so successful.

    A time that I had great success with my students doing cooperative learning was with a group of 2nd graders just this school year.  We were discussing the different methods we could use to keep track of how many days were left in the school year until they became 3rd graders.  We discussed a countdown versus counting up the days and how to track it (tally charts, rings, a folder with sticky notes to count down or up, etc.).  We created a list of everyone's ideas on the board and I had the students break themselves into groups based on the method they preferred.  Once they were in groups I instructed them to create their own method.  All I did was offer supplies and listen to their ideas and/or explanations.  There was no arguing, everyone was particpating and doing so happily.  The kids seemed to be having a blast!  At the end when we closed the activity, each group got to share their creation and why it made sense to them.  Each group listened respectfully and appreciated the various ideas.  I think the success was attributed to the fact that the students had a lot of choice in their assignment and it was an exciting topic.

    3. Share with us 1 time that cooperative learning did not work for you and why you think it didn’t. You know the time that wished never happened and pure chaos ensued….we all have at least one.

    At the beginning of the year I tried a math game for place value with my students as one of our very first cooperative learning experiences for the year.  There was arguing, drama, the whole nine yards.  I think the biggest problem was me.  Upon reflecting what went wrong (because NOTHING went right), I concluded that I had failed to communicate the expectations and directions adequately.  I made the mistake of allowing the students to choose their own roles with too little direction for the beginning of the year.  I was already feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of students.  I should have slowed down and modeled what I wanted in a more efficient and effective way before turning them loose.
  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    mmcdonald@musd20.org Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Heidi Fawcett wrote:

     

     

    Assignment:

    1. Pick 2 of the 5 defining elements from the chapter and share with us the importance of each in the successful use of cooperative learning.

     

    2. Share with us 1 time that you had GREAT success with cooperative learning…topic, activity, age of students…and why you feel that it was so successful.

     

    3. Share with us 1 time that cooperative learning did not work for you and why you think it didn’t.  You know the time that wished never happened and pure chaos ensued….we all have at least one.

     

    1: I would say that using a variety of criteria to group students is a must! Students tend to know if they are in the "Low" group or "high" group no matter if you call them daisies or Phineas and Ferb... I had the opportunity to go to a few Kagan trainings and purchased their "selector tools" CD. The students LOVE it! I use it for everything, even picking my star of the week randomly. And it's so cool that Kagan has some apps that you can download in the app store for iphones/ipods/ipads too!

     

    2: Kagan structures are so fun to watch.  I forget what it is called, but I use the buddy reading one in Second grade all of the time.  Student A reads a passage, Student B listens, Student A asks a question about what they just read, Student B answers, Student A either praises or coaches to help B find right answer, then they switch roles.  It really holds students accountable when reading to a buddy.  I use it for many different subjects, and its fun to watch them try to coach eachother if B gets an answer wrong.

     

    3:I really haven't had a time when something went wrong with any of the Kagan structures, I just think you have to lay a lot of groundwork first. Clear expectations, etc. I would definitely like to use MORE Kagan in my room.

  • Re: Ch. 7 Cooperative Learning
    ajbrown@musd20.org Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    One of the elements I was drawn to was the idea of having base groups. As I read about base groups I began thinking of all the benefits that would have. I thought about how they can be immediate friendships that help lift up and encourage. I thought that could build a great community of learners helping each other to succeed. Another element I was drawn to was the idea of using a variety of grouping strategies. Not to always just stick like groups together. Mix up how groups are made; counting off or clumping by the pets they have at home. I like having a variety of ways to sort groups and to hear it is okay if they are not always preplanned to the specific person with person group. As in the example the little boy feeling like he was always in the ‘dummie’ group was thinking he would be okay with groups because of being placed according to the pets they had at home. 

     

    I teach kindergarten a handful of these I did not implement only because I did not know of these ideas and because it was my first year teaching. I attempted to have my students work together from time to time. One of the times I can think of that I felt like it was successful was we were talking about our holiday traditions and had the students turn to their partner, so this was an informal grouping, and share what they did for the holidays. They were Kindergarten kids and they love to share everything, all of them, and there is not enough time to hear from everyone. So I had them meet up informally with a partner and they got to tell each other all about their traditions. They really enjoyed doing that because it was like they had an immediate listener.

     

    I would have to say that a time I am thinking of that a cooperative group did not work was when I realized that I had not prepared enough details for the groups. I had started to place them in their groups and all of a sudden I realized that for Kindergarteners you have to be even more detailed in explanation of what the expectations are than you think. The students are asking tons of questions I felt like I was being mobbed to death by little people and I had to stop, gather us all together again, do more explaining more teaching, and attempt to try my groups again. First year teacher mistakes are somewhat funny to look back on and reflect on your mistakes but at the time they were not as funny. :O

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...