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Title: “Cooperative Learning”
By: Krystal Billeck
Edited by: Stephanie Martinez & Heather Miller

Textbook Definition: learning that occurs as students work together in small groups to help each other achieve an academic goal (Pg.497)

Description of the Lesson: Students are set up into groups to prepare for a small competition.
When it was Observed: September 21, 2011
Grade Level: 5th Grade
Objectives of the Lesson: The students will know the locations of all the states and their regions well enough to compete against other students.
Teacher & School: Mrs. Brown (Faith West Academy)
Materials Needed for the Lesson:
  • Packages of candy

Procedure: The teacher divided the students into six different groups of three and instructed them to sit down on the floor in various spots in the room. She got the students excited when she informed them that they were going to be having a little competition in the classroom. Mrs. Brown had the groups prepare for the competition by getting together and repeatedly reading over the eight “silly stories” the class came up with to remember the 50 states and the regions in which they belonged. To motivate them, she explained that the winning team would receive a pack of candy of their choice.
Later, Mrs. Brown called them back to their seats, and had them stand in a circle. Then the game began! One student would start by saying the first phrase of the first silly states story, the second student would recite the second phrase of the silly states story, and so on. Whenever students messed up or did not remember, they had to sit down in their seats. Whichever group had the most students standing up received a point. When all of the eight rounds were finished, the team with the highest points won the grand prize (candy of their choice-and we ALL know kids love candy).
Supporting Documents:

Paired_Reading_3.jpg
collaborative_learning_2.jpgcollaborative_learning_4collaborative_learning_3.jpg(PRIZES)


My Observations of the Lesson: The students were already willing to study simply to win the competition against their peers. However, when Mrs. Brown informed them candy was the prize, the students really took their studying seriously. Very few students had to sit down during the game – this proved that the students knew the content well.
At first, I remembered that candy was discouraged to use as incentives. However, this observation proved that candy can be a very effective motivation for students. Children love candy and are more than willing to study harder just to get their hands on it. Nevertheless, candy rewards should not be used too often.
When the groups prepared for the competition, each member took turns reading each of the eight silly stories out loud to the group. This assured them that every member of their team had the chance to read over and remember the stories.
Benefits of “Cooperative Learning”: Cooperative learning result in students striving for mutual benefit so that all group members…
  • gain from each other’s efforts (your success helps me and my success helps you)
  • recognize that all teammates are in it together
  • they realize they cannot achieve the goal without each other (“We can’t do it without you”)
  • provide encouragement for each other when one succeeds

Drawbacks of “Cooperative Learning”: A group is only as good as its weakest link, and if one team member is not trying at all, it ruins it for the whole group.