Cooperative Learning

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In the Beginning.... 5th grade classStudents off-taskIncomplete assignmentsConfusion from studentsFrustrated teacher and studentsBehind on curriculum. An Idea!. What would happen if I allowed the students work in groups?. The Research. ?Cooperative Learning is a win-win situation" (Harry Wong, 1998)Cooperative learning is a technique that is becoming more and more popular in both schools and the working world. There are many articles focusing on Cooperative learning that offer information on its structure, strategies, and benefits..

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Cooperative Learning

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1. Cooperative Learning Group Work Help Partners Is it Worth it?

2. In the Beginning... 5th grade class Students off-task Incomplete assignments Confusion from students Frustrated teacher and students Behind on curriculum

3. An Idea! What would happen if I allowed the students work in groups?

4. The Research “Cooperative Learning is a win-win situation” (Harry Wong, 1998) Cooperative learning is a technique that is becoming more and more popular in both schools and the working world. There are many articles focusing on Cooperative learning that offer information on its structure, strategies, and benefits.

5. It is no more an “I” classroom, it is a “we” environment. “The instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning” (Johnson D. & Johnson R, 2004). Students work together as a team, each having a particular job, and the goal is to make sure everyone does his/her job and also understands the concepts being learned. Competition between peers is eliminated and sharing a common fate is the objective.

6. The Teacher’s Roles Facilitator Mediator Motivator Completes the overall planning and presenting of material Watches students take action. Observing and intervening groups Asking open-ended questions Praising and encouraging group members Motivating students’ participation Facilitating student responsibility and self-evaluation Promoting social skills (Joubert, 2004)

7. The Groups The groups contain students with different abilities and academic levels rather than groups of close-nit friends. The goal is also to have students work together who normally wouldn’t work together on their own. The size of the group may vary depending on the activity, but most recommend between 2 and 4 students per group.

8. Common Roles for Students Reader/leader Checker/helper Encourager “Gopher” (gets help when needed, gets the needed materials) Time keeper Recorder (Newell, 1993, and Muskingum College, 2004).

9. Conditions of Cooperative Learning (Johnson, D. & Johnson R., 2004, & Felder, 1994): 1. Positive interdependence (relying on one another to achieve a common goal) 2. Individual accountability (students are responsible for doing their share of the work and for mastery of all of the material to be learned) 3. Face-to-face promotive interaction (providing feedback to one another, teaching and encouraging) 4. Appropriate use of collaborative skills (trust building, leadership, decision-making, communication, and conflict management skills) 5. Group processing (set up and assess goals)

10. Common Rules When Using Cooperative Learning These rules may include, but are not limited to Contribute your ideas, they may be the key to the question Listen to others ideas Give everyone a chance to speak Ask all teammates for help before asking the teacher Use consensus to settle disputes (Classroom Compass, 1998).

11. Benefits? Listening Questioning Decision-making Problem-solving Cooperation Enhances interests in a subject Motivates students Increases academic achievement of most students Divides large assignments into more manageable tasks (Muskingum College) In a computer class, using cooperative learning uses the computer as a tool, instead of the leader, and puts the responsibility back into the hands of the students.

13. Research Plan My Purpose Question Sub-questions Data Collection Data Analysis Support Results so far

14. My Purpose Last year I worked with a 4th grade class that presented many challenges (behavioral, motivational, academically). I tried many strategies with them throughout the year, but I just couldn’t seem to get some of the kinks worked out. Part of the challenge was time constraint; we only had two 30-minute sessions a week, a fourth of those classes were canceled for school related issues. Therefore, the students did not have much time to work and master the skills they were to have learned. This year I have them an hour for technology, and an hour for math technology where we incorporate math into our lessons. They are still a little behind on what they should know compared to the other grades. I strongly believe that students need to work together and learn to work with different types of people in different situations. They need to learn to rely on each other for help instead of using the teacher all of the time. Cooperative learning teaches decision-making, communication, and so much more. It’s life! I plan to teach this 5th grade class cooperative learning strategies to help with their understanding of the content in their computer class, along with learning to work together.

15. Question Will involving Cooperative Learning strategies help 5th grade students succeed and manage behaviors in their technology classes?

16. Sub-Questions What strategies do they already use on their own? After students are in CL groups: Do they work more efficiently? Do they comprehend the content better? What’s their behavior toward each other and the teacher? Are their assignments more complete and of better quality?

17. Permission Slip September 25, 2004 Dear Parents, I am working on my Master’s degree and taking a class in which I am to research an area of my teaching I would like to improve or take a closer look at. I have chosen to look at how the 5th grade technology class works together to help each other accomplish tasks. During this time I will also be teaching cooperative learning strategies to help them learn skills such as: decision-making, communication, self-help skills, encouragement of team members, and much more. The project is in the early stages of development, so there will be many changes to my plans throughout the project. One of the things I am doing is periodically videotaping the class working so I can look back and see how they worked together, what language they use when working together, and determine how I can help them work better. From time to time I may be interviewing and tape recording students, taking notes and possibly photographs. I also plan to use student work to help determine if the cooperative learning strategies have improved the quality and completeness of the children’s work. At this point I can’t be sure what will be used for the final presentation, but I would very much appreciate having your permission to use quotes given by your child or photographs of your child working in the classroom. Please sign the bottom of this slip and return it to me.

18. Permission Slip Continued If you would like to discuss this further, please call me at school before or after school, or between 11:45-12:30 to set up an appointment ~ 871-4581. Thank you, Miss Gierman I grant permission for the use of the material as described above. Child’s name: _____________________________ Parent or guardian’s signature: _____________________________ Date: ___________________

19. Data Collection During this first phase I will survey students to find out who they seek help from, whether they feel confident with the content being taught, and what they think would help them succeed in the class. I will do my best to use a notebook during class to write down observations. If this is not completed during class time, I will use my prep time and/or after school hours to recap the happenings of class. I may use a possible system as used in our book to remind myself what type of language was used by students in particular groups/partnerships. The code will be as follows: D: directing, telling what to do H: asking for help WH: help on work being done S: social TH: asked the teacher (me) for help O: asked someone outside of their group for help I will videotape various groups/pairs of students during work time. I will take photographs of students working. Towards the end of the data collection period, I will survey or interview students to find out their views about cooperative learning and how it is working or not working for them. (This interview/survey questions will be drawn up later based on the observations). I will collect student work to check for completeness and understanding of technology content.

20. Data Analysis I watched the video tapes at home where it is quiet and I could focus on listening while relaxing. I took notes while watching the tapes and transcribed conversations. I read my teacher notebook after the second computer class of the week, and made sense of any scribbles of notes that I took and make them more detailed if needed. The photographs provided a still visual of my students working (or not working) in their cooperative learning groups--I could not get the photos to work with this presentation though :( The students’ completed assignments helped me to evaluate whether groups were making sure everyone was succeeding and understanding the content, and whether assignment completion has improved.

21. Support Linda-the paraprofessional that works in my classroom occasionally Nancy Stilson-I will talk with her occasionally to brainstorm strategies. My mother to help me brainstorm ideas and to keep me sane. Connie-the 5th grade teacher to share ideas that work and do not work in our classrooms and to encourage each other throughout the process.

22. What Happened? Stage 1 When I first introduced Cooperative Learning to my 5 graders and told them they would be working with a partner, they’re eyes lit up. I let them choose their own partners this time. It was interesting to see who was being chosen for partners. Some chose friends, but then others surprised me (choosing someone they didn’t usually hang out with, and then others having a hard time because they’re friend had already been chosen). At this point, there was still a lot of asking me for help, and I redirected them to their partner before I answered. I found then, that many partners did not KNOW the answer! For example: Matthew, a previous student who wasn’t up to speed on the computer, was paired up with a new student who had little experience. There was a LOT of social talking going on at this time as well.

23. What Happened? Stage 2 I chose the partners! (moaning and groaning) Some students were disappointed with their partners. Students were researching insects and doing an individual assignment, but were to use their partners for help before they came to me. Most students were working well together, but not all Ashley T. and Kenzie, who were not partners engaged in much talking. Some students were goofing around and laughing instead of working. Some students were skipping directions instead of following each step. After some guidance from me, students were on task. I even noticed one student giving guidance for another task to someone without me asking!

24. The Survey (and common answers) What did you think about completing assignments together? (It was sometimes hard to agree and make a decision). Did you like working individually or with a partner or group? (Most liked completing individual assignments, but benefited from their “Help Partner”). Once we switched to “Help Partners,” was it easier to get help than waiting for me?(A LOT easier) What would you change to make this method of learning better? (Many felt that choosing their own help partners would be a nice change).

25. Results So Far... Students on-task most of the time Students understand the material better Students are in their seats more I’m not running from one side of the room to the other going crazy trying to help people. I can walk around the class and check students work more thoroughly. Assignments are far more complete and correct! Students are learning to work with others and help others they normally would not help

26. The Future This method of using “Help Partners” will continue throughout the year and in years to come. The strategies will be revamped and modified as needed.

27. References Brent, R., & Felder, R. (2001). Effective strategies for cooperative learning. J. Cooperation and Collaboration in College Teaching. 10(2), 69-75. Retrieved September 17, 2004 from Cooperative learning. SEDL-SCIMAST Classroom Compass. (Fall 1998, V1, n 2). Retrieved September 18, 2004 from Felder, R. (1994). Cooperative learning in technical courses: procedures, pitfalls, and payoffs. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service Report ED 377038). Retrieved September 13, 2004 from General-Purpose Learning Strategies: Group and Cooperative Learning. Muskingum College Center for Advancement of Learning. Retrieved September 14, 2004 from

28. References Continued Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2004 from the University of Minnesota, The Cooperative Learning Center Web site: Joubert, T. (n.d). Roles and social interaction. Retrieved September 18, 2004 from Stilson, N. Personal Communication, September 12 and 17, 2004. Wong, H., & Wong, R. (1998). The first days of school. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc. 245-267.

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