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Topic: nctm-l-digest V1 #86
Replies: 3   Last Post: Jul 14, 1995 7:33 AM

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Jerome Albani

Posts: 29
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: nctm-l-digest V1 #86
Posted: Jul 14, 1995 7:33 AM
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> I am responding to Jerome Albani's<> message
> concerning a cooperative learning activitie which M&M's. The activity
> was used with 7th and 8th graders. Jerome do you have any advice
> regarding how to get 7th and 8th graders to work cooperatively. I'd
> appreciate any help you could give.
> Thanks,
> Mike Stull
> <>

I am truly a novice in the cooperative/collaborative learning field --
having used this approach for only the past year.

In reflecting on how I got the students to work cooperatively last year I
attribute whatever success I've had to
1) Starting off with the group learning from day one. When they
walkd in the room, the desks were arranged in groups of 4, and they were
asked to seat themselves. The room stayed in this arrangement all the
time. The first lesson/activity of the year was cooperative in nature.
They worked in pairs and had to produce a joint product (in my case I had
them produce a Time Line -- the activity came from Glenoe's
Investigating Mathematics book). All questions and decisions directed
toward me were redirected back to the pair, and if they were stuck they
were told to check with the other pair in their foursome

2) I continually tried to structure activities and learning
situations which would make them reliant upon each other. Group
assignments were given which nearly always had a "group grade" component
along with individul accountability. One grade was given to the group,
which was based upon each group member's individual performance. Quizzes
were given in which there was usually a part where a) group members
either collaboratively worked a solution or b) Different problems were
given to each member, and they and their partner were allowed to help
each other or check each other's work. They would then get a joint grade
for this part.

3) I continually changed groups, they had to learn to get along
and work with everyone in their class. Groups were changed every 5
weeks using various strategies. At the beginning I continually had to
tell them that they didn't have to like thier partner, but they had to be
able to work with him/her. Once the students got to know each other by
working together -- much of the complaints about not liking people

Once the students realized that THEY were benefitting from group work
more than by working by themselves, did the consistent cooperation
materialize. They also had to realize that in my class them and their
fellow students were the primary sources of information and that I would
intervene only when they had attempted to get the information from each
other first.

Hope this all helps.
Jerry Albani
Christian Brothers Academy
Syracuse, New York 13214

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