Transforming the Classroom into a Community of Learners with Cooperative Thinking and Team Building

Class Notes:

Effective cooperative learning teams in a classroom are often hard to find. Nevertheless, students, now and in the future, will be expected to work together well in many life situations. Participants will learn four strategies for organizing their classroom to help students learn important skills that can turn it into a true learning community. Within the learning community, all students and teachers are sincerely interested in one another and actively work to support each other learn. Start the school year by structuring your instruction to include systems for successful teamwork with cooperative thinking and community building skills.

With the community building strategy, Talking Together, students will learn how to treat each other with respect. As part of the instruction, young people learn to give each other a chance to talk. They learn to listen to what their classmates are saying and to support their expression of thoughts and information.

With the cooperative thinking strategies, students will learn how to interact in cooperative groups to solve problems and to resolve issues found in text and in real life by breaking the issue into its sides, gathering information to understand each side, and identifying possible compromises and consequences, and finally, reaching a group decision about the issue. A foundational strategy called SCORE teaches students five basic social skills for developing positive relationships and for working together as a team.

*To become a TOT, participants will need to register for two days of follow-up training on how to integrate the cooperative learning strategies in every classroom at a school. Information will be given for registering for the TOT on the day of the workshop.