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Cooperative Learning

   
Cooperative Learning


Cooperative learning allows students to develop meaningful social skills that will benefit them in the real world.  Students share a common goal which can only be attained by group interdependence.  This type of learning style creates an atmosphere of excitement which works to bring about a positive and entertaining learning environment.  Students gain from each other’s efforts; they feel proud and celebrate when their group is recognized for an achievement; they develop positive social skills; and they learn to be accountable as well as dependent upon others.  The benefits to using cooperative learning exercises in the classroom are numerous and have profound effects on learning.  The following is a listing of cooperative learning exercises which will be utilized in my classroom.
 

Cooperative Learning Exercises:
 
Jigsaw
Students are divided into small groups of five or six students each.  In each group, students are assigned to cover different aspects of one topic. When the research is completed, each student will come back to her or his jigsaw group and will try to present a well-organized report to the group. To increase the chances that each report will be accurate, the students doing the research do not immediately take it back to their jigsaw group.  Instead, they meet first with students who have the identical assignment (one from each jigsaw group).  This is called the "expert" group. Once each presenter is up to speed, the jigsaw groups reconvene in their initial configuration.  Each student in each group educates the whole group about her or his specialty.  Students are then tested on what they have learned from their fellow group member.
 
Panel Discussions
Student groups are assigned a topic to research and asked to prepare presentations (note that this may readily be combined with the jigsaw method).  Each panelist is then expected to make a very short presentation, before the floor is opened to questions from "the audience".  Panel discussions are especially useful when students are asked to give class presentations or reports as a way of including the entire class in the presentation. 
 
Debates
Debates provide an efficient structure for class presentations when the subject matter easily divides into opposing views or ‘Pro’/‘Con’ considerations. Students are assigned to debate teams, given a position to defend, and then asked to present arguments in support of their position on the presentation day.  The opposing team should be given an opportunity to rebut the argument and, time permitting, the original presenters asked to respond to the rebuttal.
 
Concept Mapping

A concept map is a way of illustrating the connections that exist between terms or concepts covered in course material; students construct concept maps by connecting individual terms by lines which indicate the relationship between each set of connected terms.  Most of the terms in a concept map have multiple connections.  Developing a concept map requires the students to identify and organize information and to establish meaningful relationships between the pieces of information.
 
Role Playing

Students are asked to "act out" a part.  In doing so, they get a better idea of the concepts and theories being discussed. Role-playing exercises can range from the simple to the complex. Complex role playing might take the form of a play (depending on time and resources). 
 
Visual Lists
Students are asked to make a list--on paper or on the blackboard.  By working in groups, students typically generate more comprehensive lists than they might if working alone. This method is particularly effective when students are asked to compare views or to list pros and cons of a position.  One technique which works well with such comparisons is to have students draw a "T" and to label the left- and right-hand sides of the cross bar with the opposing positions (or 'Pro' and 'Con').  They then list everything they can think of which supports these positions on the relevant side of the vertical line. Once they have generated as thorough a list as they can, they are asked to analyze the lists with questions appropriate to the exercise.   
 
Paired Annotations
Students pair up to review/learn same article, chapter or content area and exchange double-entry journals for reading and reflection.  Students discuss the key points and look for divergent and convergent thinking and ideas.  Together students prepare a composite annotation that summarizes the article, chapter, or concept.

 

  Cooperative Learning Exercise Rubric


 

CATEGORY

4 3 2 1
Contributions Routinely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. A definite leader who contributes a lot of effort. Usually provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. A strong group member who tries hard! Sometimes provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. A satisfactory group member who does what is required. Rarely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. May refuse to participate.
Working with Others Almost always listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Tries to keep people working well together. Usually listens to, shares, with, and supports the efforts of others. Does not cause "waves" in the group. Often listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others, but sometimes is not a good team member. Rarely listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Often is not a good team player.
Quality of Work Provides work of the highest quality. Provides high quality work. Provides work that occasionally needs to be checked/redone by other group members to ensure quality. Provides work that usually needs to be checked/redone by others to ensure quality.
Time-management Routinely uses time well throughout the project to ensure things get done on time. Group does not have to adjust deadlines or work responsibilities because of this person's procrastination. Usually uses time well throughout the project, but may have procrastinated on one thing. Group does not have to adjust deadlines or work responsibilities because of this person's procrastination. Tends to procrastinate, but always gets things done by the deadlines. Group does not have to adjust deadlines or work responsibilities because of this person's procrastination. Rarely gets things done by the deadlines AND group has to adjust deadlines or work responsibilities because of this person's inadequate time management.
Problem-solving Actively looks for and suggests solutions to problems. Refines solutions suggested by others. Does not suggest or refine solutions, but is willing to try out solutions suggested by others. Does not try to solve problems or help others solve problems. Lets others do the work.
Attitude Never is publicly critical of the project or the work of others. Always has a positive attitude about the task(s). Rarely is publicly critical of the project or the work of others. Often has a positive attitude about the task(s). Occasionally is publicly critical of the project or the work of other members of the group. Usually has a positive attitude about the task(s). Often is publicly critical of the project or the work of other members of the group. Often has a negative attitude about the task(s).

 
    
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