Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cooperative Learning


Think-Pair-Share is a strategy designed to provide students with "food for thought" on given topics enabling them to formulate individual ideas and share these ideas with another student. It is a learning strategy developed by Lyman and associates to encourage student classroom participation. Teachers use this idea to ask every student to think of an answer or respond to a prompt. Rather than using a basic recitation method in which a teacher poses a question and one student answers a response, Think-Pair-Share encourages a high degree of pupil response and can help keep students on task. Teachers use this idea to ask every student to think of an answer or respond to a prompt.

(Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners- The SIOP Model, page 178)
Further reference: http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/strats/think/


Piece O' Pizza:

Teaching a concept or idea has many parts. This strategy is much like the Jigsaw activity during which each group of students has been given a section of an article or chapter to read. It is also helpful to use when teaching about a concept, idea, or object that has many parts. A large circle is cut into slices with information and illustrations. Later the pizza is reassembled as the groups share information.

Jigsaw Classroom

With the Jigsaw strategy, students are assigned to teams and each team member gets one piece of information. In order to reach all of the lesson's objectives, students are forced to work together and fit their individual pieces together. The jigsaw puzzle can not be completed unless each team member shared his or her piece. 

A jigsaw lesson divides the class into two different kinds of groups, expert groups and learning groups. All the expert groups read and study the same materials and become an expert on their content. They will then meet with their learning group and teach their content.

(Instruction: A Model's Approach, page 267)


Graffiti is an excellent strategy to enhance students' thinking skills and promote their writing skills. This is a great way to stimulate students' participation in the classroom. Teachers should provide questions related to the same topic and write each question on the top of a separate sheet of paper. The students need to be divided into groups, given a poster board and markers. Students will then respond to the prompt on the poster board within a certain amount of time decided by the teacher. When the time is up, students will then rotate to the next poster board with a different topic or prompt. Again, they will be given an allotment of time to jot notes on the poster board. Once all the groups have rotated through each poster/topics and student return to their original sheet to summarize the ideas and share out with the class. 

Reader-Writer-Speaker Response Trails

A group of three receives a reading assignment. One member is the reader, one is the writer, and one is the speaker. The reader reads the reading assignment to the writer who takes notes through the reading time. The speaker then reports out the main idea or a summary of the reading to the whole class. 

Coffee Shop Talk

This strategy is to encourage class conversation. Divide your class into two groups: perhaps A's and B's or 1's and 2's. In a large, narrow space in the room, (I like to hold my Coffee Shop Talk at the back of my room by my cubbies) allow one group (A's) to stand in one line all facing the same directions. The second group (B's) will stand in one line facing the first group. A question will be posed and students will be given time to discuss with the person standing across from them. After the time is up, students will be asked to share out their responses that they heard or said themselves. After the responses have been heard whole class, one line will be asked to rotate one person to the left (or right). The person at the very end that did not have a partner will loop all the way down to the other end. Students again will have a conversation with the person standing across from them and share out with class. 

Vocabulary Twister

Students will divide into several groups to play a twister game. Vocabulary or content cards will be placed down on the colored circles on the game board. When students spin the spinner, they will then be prepared to place the body part chosen from the spinner on the appropriate color. Before the student is allowed to advance the move, the student must answer the vocabulary card or answer a content question.    

Literature Circles

"In literature circles, a small group of students gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students' response to what they have read. You may hear talk about events and characters in the book, the author's craft, or personal experiences related to the story."

"Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach. Students reshape an add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers. Finally, literature circles guide students to deeper understanding of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response."

(Schlick Noe, K. L. & Johnson. N.L., Getting Started with Literature Circles , 1999 Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc. p. ix.)

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