Highcroft Herald

December 7, 2015

Quote of the Week

"The strength of the team is each individual member...the strength of each member is the team." ~ Phil Jackson

The Keys to Cooperative Learning

Each of us knows how cooperative learning differs from group work. In group work, students are put together to complete a task or assignment. Like cooperative learning, the social organization of group work is cooperative; cooperation is the goal. However, more often than not with unstructured groups, cooperation does not tend to occur. What tends to happen is that some students do most or all of the work while others contribute very little, if anything at all. The main difference between group work and cooperative learning is the lack of structure. Effective cooperative learning is carefully structured to ensure students work together well.

Over years of research, seven key concepts have been identified that make cooperative learning work well and engage every student in the learning process. When these seven key concepts are in place, cooperative learning is successful.

The Seven Key Concepts

  1. Structures - a structure is the way a teacher organizes the interaction in the classroom at any moment.
  2. Teams - cooperative learning teams have a strong, positive team identity, ideally consist of four members and endure over time.
  3. Management - Efficient management of a classroom of teams involves management skills that focus on the following: strategies for managing noise, room arrangement and seating, managing materials, giving directions, solving team problems. management
  4. Classbuilding - classbuilding is the process by which a room full of individuals, with different backgrounds and experiences, become a caring community of active learners.
  5. Teambuilding - teambuilding promotes a safe and supportive collaborative team. Teammates get acquainted, create a shared identity, establish mutual support, value one another's differences and develop synergistic relationships.
  6. Social Skills - the many life skills necessary to be a good teammate; skills critical for success in the workplace, for family life and for positive social relationships.
  7. Basic Principles (PIES) - the four fundamentals of cooperative learning: positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal participation and simultaneous interaction.

We have discussed some of the seven keys in greater detail than others. Over the next several weeks, I will share more information about the seven keys.

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Coding Movement - Hour of Code This Week

The Hour of Code is a global movement that takes place December 7-13 aimed at rectifying the disproportion in available computer technology jobs opportunities and graduates with the skill set to obtain them. It is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. The goal is to get all students and adults to code during the week, with an intent to reach tens of millions of students.

If you are interested in having your class engage in the Hour of Code event, EVERYTHING you need to be successful in this venture can be found at https://hourofcode.com/us# and if you need assistance please do not hesitate to speak with Aaron or me.

The third-grade team decided to provide each of their students with a label that says, "I did the hour of code." If you are doing the hour of code and would like labels for your students please let me know and I will print you a class set.


Monday, December 7

Tuesday, December 8

  • Hanukkah
  • 5th Grade Math Data Wall - 11:15 am -12:10 pm
  • McPherson Out of the Building - Kagan Training - PM

Wednesday, December 9

  • Hanukkah
  • Intervention Team Meeting - CRA - 8:00 am - 8:45 am
  • KDG ELA Focus Student - ?? - 1:55 pm - 2:50 pm
  • Board of Education Meeting - Central Middle School - 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • Cornell - Amanda Schmidt - AM
  • Harper - Patricia Naffziger - AM
  • Mayer - Debbie Spitzer - All Day
  • Lucas Out of the Building - Character Plus Training - All Day

Thursday, December 10

  • Hanukkah

  • Choir Rehearsal - Music Room - 8:00 am - 8:45 am

  • All Read - 3:25 pm - 3:40 pm

  • Lucas Out of the Building - Summer School Meeting - AM
  • Mayer - Debbie Spitzer - All Day

Friday, December 11

  • Hanukkah
  • 3rd Grade Arts Partners Residency - 12:50 pm - 3:50 pm
  • Cline - Amanda Schmidt - AM
  • Spector - Rebecca Boester - AM