Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Daily Assignment #26: Cooperative Learning

Cooperative Learning is a phrase that is used a lot but is frequently confused with "Group Work".  Cooperative Learning is different from Group Work.  Group work is random grouping of students working on an assignment or task together.  Cooperative Learning begins with the teacher purposefully selecting students, with various abilities, to work together as a team on a project or assignment.  Each team member is responsible, not only for their learning, but for each team members learning and completion of the task.  Everyone succeeds when the group succeeds.

There is a cooperative learning structure called "Jigsaw".  Students are part of a home team, which consist of 4-5 teacher selected students.  The members of the home team break into expert groups, which are made  up of other students from home teams.  Each expert group learns a specific assignment and then returns to their home team to teach that information.  Everyone in the home teams must sign off that they know, and could represent, the home team on any of the information.


Social Justice Legends

1.  Class is divided into 5 groups of 4 by the teacher.  These 5 groups are the Home Teams.

2.  In each Home Team, have the students letter off---A, B, C, D.

3.  As teams, all the A's are to study Martin Luther King Jr.  All the B's will study Eleanor Roosevelt.  The C's will study Mahatma Gandhi and the D's will study former president Jimmy Carter.  These are the expert teams.  Together they go over the information on the legend and decide how they will present it to their Home Teams.

4.  After a period of time, 20-30 mins., depending on the groups and information, students return to their Home Teams to teach their legend.

5.  Once each expert has completed teaching, they must be sure everyone in the Home Team understands and knows the information.  Encourage Home Team members to ask clarifying questions.

6.  The Home Teams number off--- Home Team 1, Home Team 2, Home Team 3, Home Team 4, Home Team 5.

7.  The teacher checks for understanding.  The teacher draws a name of one of the legends from a hat and then a letter, A,B,C,D, and then a Home Team number.  The person with the matching letter from the Home Team drawn, must give the data on the legend the teacher drew.  I hope this makes sense.

There are so many benefits from doing Cooperative Learning--students working together, everyone must participate, students as teachers, efficient way to teach, students must listen and respect each other in order for learning to occur, new and interesting way to present new content, the teacher is not the teacher, to mention a few.

Here is a great link if you want more information:

I hope you experiment with this strategy.  I've used it many times and it is amazing how productive the students are and invested in their learning.

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