What Went Wrong?

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What Will We See in This Lesson?

As stated, this lesson is going to ask you to put your knowledge to your test. The previous unit had us analyze the downfalls to cooperative learning and think about situations where they occur and what we can do about it. This lesson is going to ask you to use what you learned to fix a lesson that was full of issues. You are going to first read the lesson and think about what went wrong, then go to the google doc and critique the lesson, analyze why it was not successful, and state what you would have done differently.

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to critique and analyze your ideas of why a cooperative learning was not successful, and discuss what you would have done differently.

Please have the google doc open, as that is where you will be sharing your thoughts:

Link to Google doc

Lesson that Utilized Cooperative Learning

Mr. Jacobs had recently heard about Cooperative Learning and was excited to use the Jigsaw Strategy with his 4th grade students. To start, he decided to use this during a social studies lesson where students were learning about the Revolutionary War. He had never used cooperative learning strategies before, but heard some good things about it. Mr. Jacobs had always taught in a very traditional style with his class set up in rows and students seated facing the SmartBoard & white board. Before Mr. Jacobs started the lesson he told his students that they were going to be learning differently and that they were going to work in groups. Students were excited about the opportunity to work with one another, so Mr. Jacobs informed them they could sit with any people they wanted as long as they formed groups of four.

Quickly, the class ran to find their friends and Mr. Jacobs put together a few stragglers who were without a group. He went around to each group and assigned the group members each to their own subtopic: Battles, Patriots, Loyalists, and Woman of the War. Students were told that they were going to be learning about their specific topic and then discussing it with their group members. Mr. Jacobs had set out a few materials around the room for each student, and students had some access to computers, but felt that they were left on their own.

As soon as Mr. Jacobs told them to start, the volume of the room quickly grew. Students were moving desks around the classroom, others were arguing over the topic they had, others were just sitting quietly in their seats. Mr. Jacobs could hear students who were researching their topics saying things like, "can I just see what you wrote so I can show it to my group?" or "I thought I was working with my friends this is stupid!" Overall, students seemed frustrated with what they were doing. They weren't finding much information, and were spending most of the time arguing with the members of their expert group, or copying what they wrote down.

When it was time for the students to return back to their home groups and share what they learned, conversations ranged from who won the baseball game to what they were doing after school that day. Students were chatting with their friends- but not about anything related to what they were learning. When it was time for students to put together what they learned in their group and create a poster with all the information they learned from the experts in the group, students had nothing. They told Mr. Roberts there wasn't enough time and that they didn't know where to find information.

Mr. Roberts became frustrated, and believed that he had given all the information to them. He didn't understand why after three days they weren't able to come up with information about their topics, and why they didn't get anything done in the groups. He had one group where one of the students completed the whole project herself since her group members didn't do their part. Mr. Roberts believed that his class was not ready for cooperative learning and believed that it took way too long and the students didn't learn a thing. He had the students return back to their rows and began teaching the unit topic by topic while the students sat and took notes.

What Went Wrong Here?

After reading the lesson above, please take the thing to think about what went wrong in the lesson. Think back to the units that we have learned about so far, and critique the lesson determining where it had fallen apart for Mr. Roberts and the students. Detail the reasons why the lesson was not successful, and offer up your ideas of what you would have done differently.

Please use the google doc to detail your results, so that other students can see your thinking and comment on your thoughts. While you are doing this, think about the following ideas:

  • What was wrong with the classroom set up?
  • What should Mr. Roberts have done before?
  • What should Mr. Robers had done during the lesson?
  • How could have Mr. Roberts helped the students?
  • What did the students need to be successful?
  • What additionally teaching should have occurred?
  • What advice would you give to Mr. Roberts/what would you change?


Please use the chart on the google doc to critique the lesson, detail why it wasn't successful, and state what should have gone differently:

Link to Google Doc

Before Moving On...

This lesson asked you to apply your knowledge and extend your thinking. While we have spent so much time discussing how to successfully incorporate cooperative learning into the classroom, you had the opportunity to put what you have learned to the test. Since this lesson was asking you to extend your knowledge, the exit ticket is going to more of a reflection on the lesson and how your understanding has changed overtime. If you struggled in this lesson, please go back and review the previous units and lessons.

Exit Ticket

Return to Unit Homepage or Click to go to Lesson 2: Make it a Cooperative Learning Activity

Return to Minicourse Homepage

Resources

As these next few lessons utilize self-created material, the 'Reference' section you have been seeing will contain a few additional resources instead for you to explore if you wish.

Effective Cooperative Learning

How Cooperative Learning is Effective

Spencer Kagan's website