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Cooperative Learning Strategies for the Classroom
Transcript of Cooperative Learning Strategies for the Classroom
Round Table Learning
Write around Learning
For creative writing, give a sentence starter. Ask all students in each team to finish that sentence. Then, each team passes their paper to the right. They read the one they received, and add a sentence to that one and repeat the process. After a few rounds, four great stories emerge. Give children time to add a conclusion and/or edit their favorite one to share with the class.
(Example sentence starter: If you give an giraffe a cookie, he's going to ask for...)
These are structured to emphasize higher-order thinking skills such as analysis and evaluation. Students work to produce a group project, which they may have a hand in selecting.
(Example: Science fair projects.)
This is when the teachers stop any time during a lecture or discussion and allows teams three minutes to review in their group what has been said. Students in their groups can ask a clarifying question to the other members or answer questions of others.
(Example: After discussing a multiple step process like digestion, students can form teams and review the process or ask clarifying questions.)
This is great in grades 2-12. Students with varying academic abilities are assigned to 4 or 5 member teams in order to study what has been initially taught by the teacher and to help each student reach his or her highest level of achievement. Students are then tested individually. Teams earn certificates or other recognition based on the degree to which all team members have progressed over their past records.
(Example: Review day activity before a test.)
Why Cooperative Learning?
Cooperative Learning has been shown to be effective for all types of students, this includes academically gifted students, mainstream students, and English language learners (ELLs) because it supports learning and creates respect and friendships among students. In fact, if you are able to create a diverse team, there are huge benefits for each student. Students learn to depend on each other in a positive way for a variety of learning tasks
Tea Party Learning
Students form two concentric circles or two lines facing each other. You ask a question (on any content) and students discuss the answer with the student facing them. After one minute, the outside circle or one line moves to the right so that students have new partners. Then pose a second question for them to discuss. Continue with five or more questions. For a little variation, students can write questions on cards to review for a test through this "Tea Party" method. (This also reminds me of speed dating.)
If you are not ready for team activities yet...
A simple way to start Cooperative Learning is to begin with pairs instead of whole teams. Two students can learn to work effectively on activities such as the following:
Assign a math worksheet and ask students to work in pairs. One of the students does the first problem while the second acts as a coach. Then, students switch roles for the second problem. When they finish the second problem, they get together with another pair and check answers. When both pairs have agreed on the answers, ask them to shake hands and continue working in pairs on the next two problems.
Literature circles in groups of four or six are also a great way to get students working in teams. You can follow these steps:
Have sets of four books available.
Let students choose their own book.
Form teams based on students' choices of books.
Encourage readers to use notes, post-its, and discussion questions to analyze their books.
Have teams conduct discussions about the book.
Facilitate further discussion with the whole class on each of the books.
Have teams share what they read with the whole class.
For the next literature circles, students select new books.
Numbered Heads Together
Ask students to number off in their teams from one to four. Give students a question and let them know they will have limited amount of time to research. Students put their heads together to come up with an answer. Call a number and ask all students with that number to stand and answer the question. Recognize correct responses and expand on answers through rich discussions.
This is a four step method that allows students to engage in individual and small-group thinking before they are asked to answer questions in front of the whole class. In the first step, groups of four students listen to a question posed by the teacher. Then individual students are given time to think and write responses. Thirdly, pairs of students read and discuss their responses. Finally, students are called on by the teacher to share their thoughts and ideas with the whole class. This method is great to use in the science classroom because science teachers continuously ask students to formulate hypotheses about the outcome of an experiment before it is done.
(Example: A teacher could pose the question, ‘What is
metamorphosis?’ students then think individually about the
question. After a couple minutes of thought the students turn to a shoulder partner and discuss their thoughts with each other. The teacher then facilitates a whole class discussion.)
Team Jigsaw Learning
Assign each student in a team one fourth of a page to read from any text (for example, a science text), or one fourth of a topic to investigate or memorize. Each student completes his or her assignment and then teaches the others or helps to put together a team product by contributing a piece of the puzzle.
Is a simple cooperative learning tool that covers many different content areas, builds team unity, and incorporates writing. There are three steps round table learning. In the first step, the teacher poses a question that has multiple answers. Then, the first student in each group writes a response on a paper and passes the paper counterclockwise to the next student. Finally, teams with the greatest number of correct responses gain some type of recognition. This type of cooperative learning can easily be used in the science classroom. For example, the students may be asked to write as many mammal names as they can. At the end the group with the most mammals written down is rewarded.
(Example: A teacher displays a picture and asks what are various food chains found within the ecosystem of the picture. One student writes a food chain on a piece of paper then passes the paper to other members of the team for them to write a food chain that they see in the picture. Students continue to pass around the paper until the teacher stops the activity or until a group runs out of answers.) (http://www.cusd.claremont.edu/edu/el/pdfs/Cooperative_learning_strategies.pdf)
Copple, Carol and Bredekamp, Sue, (editors) (2009). Developmentally Appropriate
Practice in Early Childhood Programs. National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Miller, Debbie (2008). Teaching with Intention. Stenhouse Publishers, Pembroke.
NEA staff researchers. Research spotlight on cooperative learning. NEA Reviews of
the research on Best Practices in Education. http://www.nea.org/tools/16870.htm.
Slavin, R.E. (1995). Cooprative learning: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.).
Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
This is best used with narrative material in grades 3-12. Each team member is responsible for learning a specific part of a topic. After meeting with members of other groups, who are the "expert" in the same part, the "experts" return to their own groups and present their findings. Team members then are quizzed on all topics.
(Example: Discussion of the stages of metamorphosis.)
STAD (Student Teams-Achievement Divisions)
These are simple cooperative learning structures that cover much content, builds team spirit, and incorporates writing. The roundtable has three steps to it. In the first step, the teacher poses a question that has multiple answers. Step two, the first student in each group writes one response on a paper and passes the paper counterclockwise to the next student. Finally, in step three, teams with the greatest number of correct responses gain some type of recognition. This type of cooperative learning can easily be used in the science classroom. For example, the students may be asked to write as many reptile names as they can. At the end the group with the most reptiles written down is rewarded.
(Example: A teacher displays a picture and asks what are
various food chains found within the ecosystem of the picture.
One student writes a food chain on a piece of paper then passes
the paper to other members of the team for them to write a food
chain that they see in the picture. Students continue to pass
around the paper until the teacher stops the activity or until a
group runs out of answers.)
Round Table or Rally Table
While researching for this project I have found many new (to me) forms of cooperative learning. I have always thought that cooperative learning is a valuable tool and I still believe it is after my research.
Every student learns in different ways and allowing group work can help some students that would normally struggle with direct instruction. It also allows students to learn important cooperation sills.
In real life we are constantly working in groups or teams to complete a project, rarely are we asked to work completely alone. So it bares to reason that we need to teach good team work skills to students at an early age so they will be capable of pulling their weight when they are adults.
The benefits of cooperative learning are numerous. Students learn to celebrate diversity during small group interactions by reflecting upon the diverse responses their classmates bring to the discussion. They learn to acknowledge individual differences in a controlled environment. They gain interpersonal development. Each student takes on an active role in their learning. Students are provided more opportunities for personal feedback. Cooperative learning as opposed to competitive and individual learning efforts usually result in higher achievement and greater productivity, more caring, supportive, and committed relationships, and greater psychological, health, and social competence, and self-esteem.
I have used a few forms of cooperative learning in the past, but I would like to work on incorporating more forms of cooperative learning in my classroom in the future. This topic provided me me a plethora of great ideas to incorporate into my classroom.