Whadya Think?

Post questions, comments, ideas to discuss based on your professional engagement research on text-based instruction.
(To post - 1) Sign in, 2) Click "edit", 3) Type your entry, 4) Sign your post (three tildes ~), 5) Click "save")

The Prince George’s County Public School’s Guide to Cooperative learning says in order to succeed groups need to have positive interdependence (sink or swim together) and individual accountability (making sure each person does their part). I think these are very important in order for cooperative learning to occur well. How do we as teachers promote and foster positive interdependence and individual accountability? Something to think about…- wbrown84 wbrown84

First of all can I yell out a girlish OMG about the museum boxes--already on my pinterest! The curator in me is having a moment. OK - I love Sir Ken Robinson. Creativity not conformity. Let's start an education revolution. Well, there are many aspects of the past in there, too. I saw elements of classical Hellenistic, Renaissance and even Ignatian ed theory. Anyone who hasn't read Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences - go get it right now! - potterkc potterkc

A couple things really stood out for me from the readings on cooperative learning. The first thing that caught my attention was that I had never thought about the legality of grouping students according to ability. I wonder what other legal concerns might crop up as a teacher? Secondly I thought the TED talk by Susan Cain really spoke to the power of cooperative learning instead of collaborative learning. Introverted students bring a lot to the table and by making groups rely on the individuals in the group, instead of the group as a whole, introverts are more likely to contribute and increase the quality of the work presented.- ccoffin12 ccoffin12

After reading the articles and watching the videos I would say that the thing that stuck out to me the most was Cain's discussion of introverts. I would identify myself as an introvert and I often dreaded group work. I feel like I would much rather give a presentation on my own that in a group. In school, whenever I was placed in heterogeneous groups I frequently found myself doing the lion's share of the work. We would then grade our group members and I would grade them higher than they deserved because I liked them and didn't want to tell on them, so to speak. I think group work can be fun and beneficial but there are a lot of variables that are hard to control.- Ltormey Ltormey

I think cooperative learning is very useful because it can be a great form of differentiated instruction. For example, the math class video had different stations (including a hands-on experiment table) with questions that they could choose from to answer. The instructor in the video even mentioned that depending on their preferences, certain questions might be more suitable. - kdobler1 kdobler1

The Cain video is definitely something that I was most attuned to, especially as she stated that there was no correlation between being the 'best talker' and having the best ideas. I would always feel like I had good ideas, but I'd be unwilling to share them for various reasons. I can definitely see how groups aren't necessarily the best thing for people. Similar to Leah's experience, I was the one who would volunteer to do the bulk of group work and realistically had no problem with it. I considered it an accountability issue: I knew I was going to put in the work, and I didn't need (nor did I really want) anybody to help me. The aspect of accountability that can be put into cooperative learning can definitely correct this by assigning specific responsibilities to the individuals that make up the group (i.e., group leader/creative director, etc.). - hutchesonk hutchesonk

i really love the idea of cooperative learning....students, sharing, learning, exploring together, with each other, from each other....heaven! but, wonder think about the challenges i had at ewu...all saudi, males not wanting to work with females, quiet/timid japanese kids, and (on occasion) trying to avoid getting punched in the face after one student calls another student a dog and doesn't understand it's a compliment and not a comparison to the four-legged animal....grouping kids is a stressful and time consuming doesn't seem like it should be, but it often is (or rather was when I was a ewu) much as i tried, rarely did i ever get it right also, with introverts, as cain talked about, it can be a hard thing to manage....if you put them all together, don't speak, one does more than the rest, or they just plum give up...again, whoever has the magic solution for this, please tell me...i will pay a hefty price :) - nanako_32 nanako_32

Like Leah, I also ended up shouldering the majority of group work. As hard as teachers would try, it often went unnoticed However, if group work was used in a cooperative way, I think the potential is great. Instead of just having the students produce something, having them discover and explore topics to enhance their learning could help reduce the burden on one kid. I think this could be really helpful if it is done right in a science classroom. - marinhatcher marinhatcher

FYI: Everything you ever wanted to know about differentiated instruction can be found here:

Notes: 7-31-2013
Potential ways to change things up to meet learners needs:
  • product- the type of evidence to show learning (quiz was product in first differentiation video, second video maybe a worksheet, third video a different worksheet)
    -other examples: explain using whiteboard, draw different slopes, peer teaching, physical model, a rap ect.
  • process- changing up the way you learn (some students need one on one, some might watch a video, some need the internet)
  • content- the actual "content" and materials a teacher would use (different levels and types of materials

What is the criteria to make these differentiations? How would you decide?
  • Everyone get the same foundational lesson, but kids do different things with it
  • Some kind of pre-test
  • clear learning goals (big ideas, standards, benchmarks, access points)
  • ongoing assessment and adjustment (pre-assessment, formative, summative)
  • flexible grouping (linked to assessment data)
  • positive learning environment (cooperation, community, diversity)
  • respectful tasks (challenging, interesting, engaging, extending)
As far as students go...
  • readiness
  • interest
  • learning profile

Cooperative Learning:
-group activity
station 1: mode, station 2: IC station 3: video

New teacher survival guide, How do you cultivate a professional relationship with your cooperating teacher?
  • If the relationship is good, it will add so much. A very important, collaborative relationship.
  • You won't always agree, kind of like raising children as parents, except you are the nanny.
  • Make sure you understand this isn't your classroom, always ask before you move, do anything.
-where can I put my things? how do I go about using your computer?
  • Initial conversation (one hour) where the two of you can talk about your role in the classroom, how will we deal with lesson plans, how do you see my trajectory over the course of this, what time to you want me here in the morning, how do I become part of the school, what are your rules, who do you respond, where do I fit into that, what is your experience with student teachers, what do you love about your job, what are the students like, and specific students I should worry about, what irritates you, what is the best way to get a hold of you, can we arrange a regular time to touch base and talk?

9:00 - 9:15- Welcome and Review (Shannon)

9:15 - 9:30 - Differentiation: Product, Process, Content

9:30 - 11:00 - Learning Centers/Discussion of Key Concepts
  • 9:25 - 9:50 - Group 1
  • 9:55 - 10:20 - Group 2
  • 10:25 - 10:55 - Group 3

Station 1 - Video - New Teacher Survival - DI
Station 2 - IC - Teacher Center -IC on CL
Station 3- Model - Create a model of Tiering

11:00 - 11:10 - Break

11:10 - 11:30 - NTSG: Establishing a professional relationship with your cooperating teacher
  • Be a good "guest"
    • where should I put my things
    • how can I use the computer
    • be respectful of the teachers classroom

  • Initial conversation

    • what do you expect of me (role?)

    lesson plans?
    my trajectory?
    what time should I be here in the morning?
    how long should I stay?
    how do I become part of the school?
    classroom management? rules? responses? my role?
    Previous experiences with student teachers?
    What do you love about your job?
    What is our curriculum? How do I find it?
    Particular kids attributes?
    student teacher pet peeves?
  • Professional communication (e.g. What if you don't agree with your CT?)
    • Tell me about x.
    • As a new teacher, could you help me understand x?
    • Would it be alright if I x?
  • Establishing a set time to communicate.
  • Ways to contribute . . .

11:30 - 12:30 - Lunch and prepare CL activity guide & lesson plan conferences
  • 11:50 - 12:00 - Jeni
  • 12:00 - 12:10 - Matt
  • 12:10 - 12:20 - Marin
  • 12:30 - 12:40 - Katherine

12:30 - 1:30 - Teaching Demonstrations

1:30 - 2:30 - Differentiated Instruction Activity (Choice Board) & Lesson plan conferences
Choice boards provide an easy way to differentiate and mix things up

2:30 - 3:50 - TED Talk - Sir Ken Robison

2:50 - 3:00 - Closure and Housekeeping