Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/In Today's Schools Table of Contents/Cooperative Learning

Cooperative Learning
Observations and Reflections from Today's Classrooms

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Throughout my observation time, I witnessed so many examples of cooperative learning taking place in the classroom. The Virginia Beach Public Schools, as well as many other school districts in Virginia, use the Kagan method which promotes group work and cooperation. I have found this method to be so successful in all of the grade levels that I have observed and I hope to use it in my own classroom as well!

Cooperative learning is a science. It is a method of placing students in the right types of groups to explore, learn, and create. I do not remember many cooperative learning situations throughout my entire education. I remember working with partners of my choice. I remember dreading certain small group activities, where the teacher decided who we were to work with. My small group experiences were usually meant to complete only random assignments. I never felt a sense of community from these groups or the understanding of how to work with everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. After reading, I hope to incorporate the “science”” of cooperative learning in my class. I hope to utilize Kagan structures so that students get the most from these types of learning situations. Abitt002 (talk) 19:59, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I was able to see the 5th graders in a Virginia Beach classroom working on a group project and incorporating cooperative learning into this assignment. The teacher encouraged the students to listen to one another, value each others opinions and work together nicely. The students worked on creating a board game that included all the different subjects into the questions and theme of the game. I must say that these were some of the most creative kids I have ever seen. The ideas they came up with in a short period of time were incredible! I attribute a big part of this to the teacher and her ability to encourage the children to work together. They were able to come up with such great ideas because they all offered suggestions and opinions that were used in the project. The cooperative learning techniques were very visible in this classroom and it was exciting to see! Khedl002 (talk) 14:18, 1 August 2009 (UTC)khedl002

Cooperative learning is a great tool to engage all learners. When students participate in small group activities they are engaging their minds and sparking creativity. Concepts can be reinforced and teachers can find assessment opportunities in a cooperative learning classroom. This teaching method can be utilized in any subject, area but I have found it particularly useful in the science classroom. Students can explore new topics, brainstorm to find solutions to research questions, and review previously taught materials. I also believe cooperative learning environments provide great opportunities for developing social skills and increasing self-esteem.

In a 5th grade classroom in Mecklenburg County, I observed students working on an Internet safety lesson in a cooperative learning setting. The teacher introduced the lesson and played a video clip about personal information on the Internet. The students, with desks in groups of 4-5, worked together to find a solution to the dilemma that was given to each group. They brainstormed and made a web on newsprint. The teacher walked around the room and made notes about the student's graphic organizers and individual participation. At the conclusion of the activity a spokesperson reviewed the web and the group's decision. The students had wonderful ideas! The teacher and I concluded that the students provided answers that she couldn't have come up with due to the generation gap. This was an example of cooperative learning at its finest. Acrow005 (talk) 00:28, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

I watched a 4th grade class use cooperative learning for a weather unit. The students were excited and engaged. The teacher assigned small groups different geographical areas to study the weather. Each student had a different job within the group. The groups completed their tasks then presented their information to the entire class. When all the groups had finished, the entire class took a test on what had been presented. As the teacher used good cooperative learning techniques, no one student did more or less than another. The students enjoyed teaching what they had learned to the other students.

I love cooperative learning techniques and can't wait to use them in my classroom. I think that besides engaging the students in learning, the students also learn good social skills and that they must depend on each other. Studies have shown that students who engage in cooperative learning not only learn more, but retain it longer. Sciaston (talk) 21:40, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I completed my observation in a 4th grade classroom and also a K-2 special education classroom. In the 4th grade classroom there were many opportunities for the class to participate in cooperative learning. The teacher had passed out a review guide for the students to complete in class and then finish up at home for homework. The teacher had them organize into table groups and review their answers, if they had any questions that they could not come to a consensus they were to raise their hands and then the helper student, that had received 100% on the assignment would come around and give them the correct answer. I liked the way the students interacted with each other and really listened to each other's answers. I will definitely use this practice when I am a teacher. Although I did observe at the end of the school year and the students were very comfortable with directions and each other, I would be curious if there would be as much cooperation at the start of the school year. In the other classroom that I observed the students all had different jobs that they would be assigned that would give them responsibility in the classroom. Some of those tasks involved small groups and passing out papers and materials for a project. I also had the great pleasure of doing a picnic with this class and the children played very well with each other using group oriented games and activities. It was a fabulous experience in both settings and I treasure those times with all of the students.Jnewh001 (talk) 23:54, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I completed half of my observation this summer in Hampton in a 1st grade classroom. I noticed a reasonable amount of cooperative learning. All of students' desks were positioned in groups which made it easy for them to ask each other questions and participate in group work. Throughout the several days that I visited this class, I also saw the teacher dividing the room up into different centers. One center was a board game that involved addition, another was a long mat that had the alphabet on it that the students could use to spell out words. It was interactive and would give the students feedback on spelling the world correctly. There were several centers, all with interactive games, puzzles, etc., that would require the students to work together and use cooperative learning.

I think that cooperative learning is a great way for students to not only learn, but also build very important skills for the future. At this age, they are learning valuable social skills as well as accountability and interdependence. I am very curious to see how cooperative learning is different when I visit a higher grade level in the fall. I would think that there would be more advanced assignments that may give more defined "roles" to each group member. I can definitely see the value of cooperative learning in our schools and will certainly take advantage of this practice in my classroom in the future. Alucy001 (talk) 04:48, 2 August 2009 (UTC) I observed several Spanish classes at princess Anne Hight School, in which I observed allot of cooperative learning. Being that the class was to learn another language it is very difficult for some and easier for others. The teacher encouraged allot of work in groups, the use of dictionaries and for students to ask other students that were more familiar with the language for help. It was very interesting seeing how students on a day to day teach and learn from each other.

In many occasions I noticed that when the students worked together, they had mor fin with the assignments and also participated more. During the class there were many instances where the students needed to go to the board and write an answer during a debate. Students reaching to other students instead of asking the teacher was really good to see. I think that when there is someone other than the teacher that the students can reach for help it eases the load of the teacher. Having students interact with each other for the purpose of learning was a great thing to witness and I hope to see more of it in my future career.Bpenn005 (talk) 02:33, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Cooperative learning is one of the biggest part of the music experience. There were several different techniques that were used to hwlp a student better understand an articulation or a rhythm. For instance, the advanced band was playing a piece that was very percussive with heavy articulation. The director had one of the percussionists demonstrate on a marimba to demonstrate the articulation that he was looking for. I think that coming from a performers stand point that is a very good way to look at the proper way to play something. Using one students ability to aid in the teaching of another, if that's not cooperative learning I'm not sure what is. Rcoll029 (talk) 04:28, 11 August 2009 (UTC)