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Cooperative Groups
Classroom Management

Cooperative groups can be used in many different ways in the classroom.  Typically, the groups are all working on the same assignment or activity but each member of the group has a different responsibility.  Responsibilities can shift among group members from day to day to give each member of the group an opportunity to take on a different role.  If you have limited technology resources in your classroom it can be useful to incorporate cooperative groups into the implementation plan for your project.  You can either assign one person per group as the computer or Internet navigator or a whole group can use the computers while the rest of the class works on another activity.



A teacher establishes six groups of four students to plot recent earthquakes on a world map given to each group. Each member of the group has a role. If students were plotting the data by hand the roles might be data collector and reviewer, plotter, checker, and results reporter. If the students were using a graphing program to plot the coordinates the roles might be data collector and reviewer, mouse operator/checker, keyboard operator/checker, and results reporter. While other members of the group were getting their work areas set up and planning their work, the data collectors of each group could assemble at one or two computers and find the data necessary to plot. They would be responsible for printing or copying it and relaying it back to their groups. They would also review the data to make sure it was complete. On subsequent days the roles would be rotated.  

Consider these questions as you review your project.

  • Can cooperative groups be used for any parts of the project you have selected? If so, which parts? 

  • How will the groups be organized? 

  • What will be the designated roles for each student? 

  • How will the groups be managed?


Use these resources to help you plan and implement the use of cooperative groups.

Planning & Reference Materials

Implementation Resources

  • How to Form Cooperative Groups - This is part of the "Doing Cooperative Learning" guide listed above.  It contains specific information on the issue (see left-hand menu)
  • Computer and Classroom Management Techniques - Several very useful topics on how to effective utilize one computer are covered.  Includes information on using learning stations and cooperative group techniques
  • Assigning Group Roles - Again, from the "Doing Cooperative Learning" guide.  Long list of suggested roles for group members.
  • How to Assign Grades - Also from the "Doing Cooperative Learning" resource, discuss pros and cons of different grading models.
  • Cooperative Learning Strategies - More from the "Doing Cooperative Learning" guide.  Use the "next" button at the top of the screen to review over 10 different strategies.
  • The Jigsaw Classroom - This is a specific approach to cooperative group learning that has been used for over 30 years.  The site provides details on the approach as well as specific resources for implementation such as "Jigsaw in 10 easy steps" and "Tips on implementation".


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