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Engaging Students Through Cooperative Learning: Ideas for Success. Laura Schulz Talent Development High Schools. Three Musketeers: A TEAM Building Activity. Find three things that everyone on the team likes Find three things that everyone on the team dislikes

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engaging students through cooperative learning ideas for success

Engaging Students Through Cooperative Learning: Ideas for Success

Laura Schulz

Talent Development High Schools

three musketeers a team building activity
Three Musketeers: A TEAM Building Activity
  • Find three things that everyone on the team likes
  • Find three things that everyone on the team dislikes
  • Find one thing that is unique to each of the team members
  • Decide on a team name that has something to do with your collective likes and dislikes
  • Write your TEAM name on your “Table Tent”
What is a Team?Teams differ from groups because they include the following basic elements of cooperative learning:
  • Goals are shared
  • Information is circulated
  • Roles are assigned
  • Materials are managed
  • Teammates depend on each other to complete tasks successfully
  • Students gain respect for each other’s contributions to the team
goal setting why are we here today
Goal Setting: Why are we here today?
  • Think about what your expectations are for the professional development session today
  • Pair with another team member to discuss expectations
  • Share as a team your expectations
  • Set 3 goals your team wishes to accomplish during our session today
  • Write those 3 goals on the back of your team’s table tent
we learn
We Learn:
  • 10% of what we read
  • 20% of what we hear
  • 30% of what we see
  • 50% of what we both see and hear
  • 70% of what is discussed with others
  • 80% of what we experience personally
  • 95% of what we teach someone else

William Glasser

expectations in the workplace how have things changed
Expectations in the Workplace: How have things Changed?

Organizational Effectiveness Reading

Problem Solving Teamwork

Interpersonal Skills Writing

Computation Listening

Creative Thinking Leadership

Oral Communication

Career Development/Motivation

according to fortune 500 companies the top skills sought by employers








According to Fortune 500 Companies: The Top Skills sought by employers
thinking about the subject or subjects you teach
Thinking about the subject or subjects you teach

(Knowing the skills that are in demand in the workplace today)

What jobs or careers are you

preparing your students to hold?

(Use chart paper to share some examples)

a history of cooperative learning
A History of Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is not a new idea.

  • The Talmud clearly states that in order to learn you must have a learning partner.
  • In the first century, Quintillion argued that students could benefit from teaching one another.
  • The Roman philosopher, Seneca advocated cooperative learning through such statements as, "Qui Docet Discet" (when you teach, you learn twice).
  • Johann Amos Comenius (1592-1679) believed that students would benefit both by teaching and being taught by other students.
a history of cooperative learning13
A History of Cooperative Learning
  • In the late 1700s Joseph Lancaster and Andrew Bell made extensive use of cooperative learning groups in England, and the idea was brought to America when a Lancastrian school was opened in New York City in 1806.
  • Within the Common School Movement in the United States in the early 1800s there was a strong emphasis on cooperative learning.
  • In the last three decades of the 19th Century, Colonel Francis Parker brought to his advocacy of cooperative learning enthusiasm, idealism, practicality, and an intense devotion to freedom, democracy, and individuality in the public schools. Parker's advocacy of cooperation among students dominated American education through the turn of the century.
a history of cooperative learning14
A History of Cooperative Learning
  • John Dewey promoted the use of cooperative learning groups as part of his famous project method in instruction.
  • In the late 1930's, however, interpersonal competition began to be emphasized in schools
  • In the late 1960s, individualistic learning began to be used extensively.
  • In the 1980s, schools once again began to use cooperative learning.
what is cooperative learning
What is Cooperative Learning?

Cooperative Learning refers to a set of instructional methods in which students work in small, mixed-ability learning teams.

The students in each team are responsible not only for learning the material being taught, but also for helping their teammates learn.

Cooperative learning is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other's learning(Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1993).

Within cooperative learning groups students discuss the material to be learned with each other, help and assist each other to understand it, and encourage each other to work hard.

Cooperative learning groups may be used to teach specific content (formal cooperative learning groups), to ensure active cognitive processing of information during a lecture or demonstration (informal cooperative learning groups), and to provide long-term support and assistance for academic progress (cooperative base groups) (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1993).

Any assignment in any curriculum for any age student can be done cooperatively.

benefits of cooperative learning
Benefits of Cooperative Learning
  • Increased Achievement
  • Increase in Positive Relationships
  • Greater Intrinsic Motivation
  • Higher Self-Esteem
  • More “On-Task” Behavior
  • Better Attitudes Toward Teachers and School
additional benefits of cooperative learning
Additional Benefits of Cooperative Learning…
  • Students take responsibility for their own learning
  • Students translate “teacher talk” into “student speak” for their peers
  • Students engage in “cognitive collaboration.” They must organize their thoughts to explain ideas to classmates
  • Students have FUN learning
  • Students social nature is used to their advantage
bonuses for high achievers
Bonuses for High Achievers
  • Higher levels of achievement
  • Even greater retention of information due to “cognitive rehearsal”
  • Development of key skills:
    • Social
    • Leadership
    • Communication
    • Decision Making
    • Problem Solving
    • Conflict Resolution
basic elements of cooperative learning
Basic Elements of Cooperative Learning
  • Positive Interdependence
  • Face-to- Face Interaction
  • Individual Accountability
  • Interpersonal And Small Group Skills
  • Group Processing

Taken from: Circles of Learning: Cooperation in the Classroom (Revised Edition) D.W. Johnson, R.T. Johnson and Edythe Johnson Holubec. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986

Positive Interdependence

Students must feel they need each other in order to complete the group’s task

  • Mutual Goals
  • Joint Rewards
  • Shared Materials and Information
  • Assigned Roles
Face-to-Face Interaction
  • Discussing
  • Summarizing
  • Explaining
  • Elaborating
  • Receiving Feedback
Individual Accountability

Teams succeed when:

  • Every member has learned the material
  • Every member has helped complete tasks
  • Frequently teachers assess individual learning
Interpersonal and Small Group Skills
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Decision-making
  • Conflict Management
  • Active Listening
  • Challenging Ideas Not People
  • Compromising
Group Processing

Giving students the time and the procedures to analyze how well their teams are functioning with:

  • Learning tasks
  • Social skills
  • Self-assessment
sample types of activities
Sample Types of Activities

Direct Instructional Activities

  • present information to students or demonstrate skills

Activities for Student Practice

  • after direct instruction

Cooperative Learning Instructional Activities

  • brainstorming, note-taking pairs, cooperative writing and editing pairs

Whole Lesson Formats

  • involves teacher-directed and student directed strategies without other lesson components

Movement Oriented Activities

  • corners


cooperative note taking pairs
Cooperative Note-taking Pairs


To enable students to take something from one another’s notes to improve their own

Directions In Brief:

1. Assign or allow students to select partners.

2. Teach

3. Stop every 10 minutes for sharing of notes.

cooperative note taking pairs check in
Cooperative Note-taking PairsCheck - in

Directions in Brief

  • While teaching, stop periodically for a check-in.
  • Instruct students to skim their partners’ notes looking for:
    • information they missed
    • information partners have incorrectly noted

3. Students retrieve their own notes and make any needed changes.




  • To move students in a purposeful way
  • To gather data in a quick, visual way that is engaging


  • Identify the kind of data you want to gather.
  • Post four multiple choice responses, one in each corner.
  • Students select their responses.
  • Members of groups discuss their choices.
  • Spokespersons summarize/present group members’ thoughts.

Go to the corner…





think write pair compare


to give rehearsal time, engage more students, and promote thoughtful responses


  • Present a problem, idea or question to be discussed
  • Pair students randomly
  • Allow time for individuals to think in silence
  • Allot time for students to write responses (independently)
  • Give time for partners to compare their responses
  • Give the whole class time to discuss responses
think write pair compare37

Think of one way you could apply


in your subject area(s).

formations objectives to make abstract concepts more concrete while incorporating movement
FormationsObjectives: to make abstract concepts more concrete while incorporating movement

Directions in Brief:

  • Identify an abstract concept
  • Translate it to a living model
  • Compose steps in the process of constructing the model
  • Engage students in construction of the model
  • Engage students in processing the concept

Formations1. Meet with others in your subject area2. Decide upon one abstract concept and a formation that makes it concrete.3. Be prepared to present your formation to your colleagues in other subject areas.

Note: Every member of your group does not have to be a part of your formation

designing an 18 week plan
Designing an 18 Week Plan
  • Identify essential skills and information to be taught using a variety of resources
    • Hawaii Standards
    • Curricula Frameworks from a variety of sources
    • In house resources such as teacher lessons, textbooks, etc
Restructuring does not mean throwing out everything from “before block scheduling”. Incorporate the best of the “tried and true” methods, build adapt and reincorporate them in the new time frame.
List the most important concepts/skills you want students to understand before the end of the course
  • List effective activities now used to address each goal
  • Indicate which concepts you wish to address in more depth
  • Think of ways to contextualize each goal with reality based activities
  • Consider various strategies you might add to address each goal
design weekly lesson plans
Design Weekly Lesson Plans
  • Provide a detailed outline of activities for each unit including possible materials, resources, strategies
design daily lesson plans
Design Daily Lesson Plans

Include at least three activities which allow for:

  • The incorporation of movement
  • The inclusion of time for whole class, individual and group work
  • Changes in media
traditional lesson design
Traditional Lesson Design
  • Warm up/ Problem Solving 10-15
  • Homework Review 10
  • New Material 25-30
  • Practice Activity 15-20
  • Closure 10
  • Writing 5-10
lesson plan with cooperative groups
Lesson Plan With Cooperative Groups
  • Warm-Up 10
  • Direct Instruction 10-15
  • Work in Small Groups 20-25
  • Small Group Presentations 20-25
  • Large Group Interaction 15
  • Closure/Writing/Assignments 10
allocation of test related time
Allocation of Test Related Time
  • Test Review 15-40
  • Test 60-85
what is a rotating review


Something I learned today. . .

Students walk around the room to each piece of chart paper and write something about what they learned that day.

Sheets are posted and used as a review.



  • Objective:

to get students to recall, summarize or brainstorm

  • Directions:

State the problem, topic or issue

Distribute one sheet of paper to each group

Give a time limit and ask students to begin to write


Round Table

Each person at your table should write one thing he/she has learned about cooperative learning.