Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cooperative Learning or Group Work?

Yaay! I had SO much fun at day one of the Kagan Cooperative Learning conference yesterday! But before I tell you all about it, check out this AWESOME shirt I bought at T-Rex, a restaurant in Downtown Disney:
It says, "Thesaurus!" LOVE!
Here are some of the key concepts I took away from yesterday's learning.

1.     Dr. Kagan’s research shows that it’s important to do team building activities in the classroom at least twice a week throughout the year- this helps create a positive, supportive class environment. Kagan’s book, Silly Sports and Goofy Games has TONS of different team building activities.

3.     Many teachers don’t know the difference between cooperative learning and group work. When determining whether an activity is cooperative learning or group work, use the following Acronym: PIES:
PIES Analysis
In order for an activity to be “Cooperative Learning,” all 4 elements of PIES need to be present!

What it Means:
How students feel:
Positive Interdependence
Does one doing well help others?
On the same side
Does task completion depend on everyone?
Need eachother
Individual Accountability
Must everyone perform in front of someone?
Can’t hide
Equal Participation
Is participation approximately equal?
Equal status
Simultaneous Interaction
What percent are talking/writing at any moment?

All of the Kagan structures meet all four criteria- that's why they're so engaging and effective.

5.     When test scores are compared, group work is actually less effective than traditional sit-and-get, then do a worksheet teaching. This is because when you ask students to work in a group- with one paper and one pencil, many students can sit back and do nothing while one or two partners do the work. Cooperative learning is the most engaging, and therefore, most effective teaching style. Students in cooperative learning classes score an on average 25% better than their peers.

I'll continue to post my daily learning so that you can use some of this next year! Let me know what you think!

P.S. This is my husband and me at Hollywood Studios! We're having a great time on our trip!
The big Mickey hat!! :)


  1. I LOVE your blog!! Thank you for the reminder about cooperative learning. It is something I constantly need to think about when putting activities together that I want to consider "cooperative learning" and not just "group work". I also love your ottoman project! I just started my blog a week ago and have been so inspired blog hopping!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  2. Thanks Holly! I really learned a lot at the conference. I'll have to check out your new blog!