June 30, 2013

June 28, 2013

The 5 basic elements for cooperative learning

The first and most important element in structuring cooperative learning is positive interdependence.
Positive interdependence is successfully structured when group members perceive that they are linked with each other in a way that one cannot succeed unless everyone succeeds. Group goals and tasks, therefore, must be designed and communicated to students in ways that make them believe they sink or swim together.
Teacher Actions
 Set up tasks which cannot be completed without input from each team member
 Reflect on the 9 positive interdependencies and how they can be incorporated into the lesson
 Allowing one student to be carried by the others
 Allowing one student to do the work for the group
 Holding up one person or group as "best"

The second basic element of cooperative learning is promotive interaction, preferably face-to-face.
Students need to do real work together in which they promote each other's success by sharing resources and helping, supporting, encouraging, and applauding each other's efforts to achieve. There are important cognitive activities and interpersonal dynamics that can only occur when students promote each other's learning.
Teacher Actions:
 Present instructions in visual and auditory ways (in language student can understand)
 Check for understanding
 Discuss concepts being learned
 Connect present with past learning

The third basic element of cooperative learning is individual and group accountability.
Two levels of accountability must be structured into cooperative lessons. The group must be accountable for achieving its goals and each member must be accountable for contributing his or her share of the work.
Teacher Actions:
 Keep the size of the group small. The smaller the size of the group, the greater the individual accountability may be
 Give an individual test to each student
 Randomly examine students orally by calling on one student to present his or her group's work to the teacher (in the presence of the group) or to the entire class
 Observe each group and record the frequency with which each member contributes to the group's work
 Color code contributions
 Process individual contributions
 Individuals initial team decisions
 Assign one student in each group the role of checker. The checker asks other group members to explain the reasoning and rationale underlying group answers
 Have students teach what they learned to someone else
 Assign roles, especially gatekeeper
 Use structures like Jigsaw, Numbered Heads, Roundtable, Color-Coded Cards
 Base team scores on individual achievement
 Including group products, tests, discussions and decisions in which individual contributions are not differentiated

The fourth basic element of cooperative learning is teaching students the required interpersonal and small group skills.
Cooperative learning is inherently more complex than competitive or individualistic learning because students have to engage simultaneously in task work (learning academic subject matter) and teamwork (functioning effectively as a group).
Teacher Focus:
Help students develop social skills naturally or by specific teaching of the required skills in the following areas:
 Leadership, Decision-making, Trust-building, Communication, Conflict-management skills
 Provide opportunities for students to ?naturally? use social skills in fun or high interest topics
 Teach, model, chart, process (provide feedback), role play, and reinforce social skills,
 Assign roles and skills and teach associated response modes and gambits.
 Placing students in situations before they have appropriate skills, e.g., placing them in conflict before they have conflict resolution skills

The fifth basic element of cooperative learning is group processing.
Group processing exists when group members discuss how well hey are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships. Groups need to describe what member actions are helpful and unhelpful and make decisions about what behaviours to continue or change. Continuous improvement of the processes of learning results from the careful analysis of how members are working together and determining how group effectiveness can be enhanced.
Teacher Actions:
 Have group members discuss how well they are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships
 Describe what member actions are helpful and not helpful
 Make decisions about what behaviours to continue or change
 Telling students to discuss, cooperate, practice, or produce a product without providing structures, models, and norms to reflect on.

Thanks to Kathy Green, Ontario Canada

June 26, 2013

Action guide

This is one of the action guides in the new book written by Roel Röhner and Hans Wenke.
Find it on : www.daltonmedia.nl (from half of July)

June 22, 2013

June 19, 2013

Famous book in new lay-out

Cooperative learning is the extra dimension of the idea worked
out by Helen Parkhurst.
Every modern Dalton school introduced the techniques of
cooperative learning already.
This tip is for those who didn't.

June 18, 2013

Interesting book about portfolio development

As more and more educators use portfolios, they increasingly recognize that the process has the power to transform instruction. Some teachers, however, are confused by the many types of portfolios, their different uses, and the practical issues surrounding storage, ownership, and the like.
The three major types of portfolios are: working portfolios, display portfolios, and assessment portfolios. Although the types are distinct in theory, they tend to overlap in practice. Consequently, a district's program may include several different types of portfolios, serving several different purposes. As a result, it is important for educators to be clear about their goals, the reasons they are engaging in a portfolio project, and the intended audience for the portfolios.
Working Portfolios
A working portfolio is so named because it is a project “in the works,” containing work in progress as well as finished samples of work. It serves as a holding tank for work that may be selected later for a more permanent assessment or display portfolio.
A working portfolio is different from a work folder, which is simply a receptacle for all work, with no purpose to the collection. A working portfolio is an intentional collection of work guided by learning objectives.
The major purpose of a working portfolio is to serve as a holding tank for student work. The pieces related to a specific topic are collected here until they move to an assessment portfolio or a display portfolio, or go home with the student. In addition, the working portfolio may be used to diagnose student needs. Here both student and teacher have evidence of student strengths and weaknesses in achieving learning objectives, information extremely useful in designing future instruction.

From the introduction of the book.

June 6, 2013

The end of the school year can bring up a lot of feelings for a lot of people working in schools. As we clean out our classrooms, we may come across half-finished projects, stacks of papers we never got around to grading, and files of material that we'd intended on using for a unit on something or another.

Of course, we also see the evidence of our student's success and hard work, but at least for me, it was those other piles that made me feel conflicted. I'd focus on what hadn't happened and what didn't go well. I felt disappointed in myself and reluctant about beginning the following year.

That's not what I do at the end of the year any more. Now I direct my energy and attention on what worked, what went well, and what I feel was successful. I've discovered that this strategy is critical to build my emotional resilience. One of the only things in life that I have control over is how I tell my story -- how I interpret my experiences and make sense of them. If I create a story that is one of learning, growth, and empowerment, I feel better.

So how are you telling the story of this school year?

By: Elena Aguilar in the latest Newsletter of Edutopia

June 4, 2013