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  • Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, thank you for being here today. I thought I’d start by showing you some of the words my students came up with for chemical boggle, in which they used symbols from the periodic table to create words.
  • The first group of words were the longest words created by all groups of students in two classes of Chemistry 1 students. The second group of words were the longest words created by two groups of students, one from each class of Chemistry 1 students.
  • First I’ll be giving you background information on Maine West High School in Des Plaines, IL. Then I’ll discuss my focus and sub questions leading into my rationale. After explaining the treatment I will go through various graphs used for data analysis. I will discuss implications and further questions in the conclusion.
  • Maine West High School is located in Des Plaines, IL near O’Hare airport. It is one of three high schools in the district. The student body is made up of about 2300 diverse students, with the majority of students (56.8%) Caucasian, followed by 29.5% Hispanic, 9.5% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3.4% Black and 0.4% Native American. Science is required for 3 years with Biology freshman year and one semester each of Chemistry 1 and Physics 1 sophomore year. Students take Chemistry 2 their junior year. As a Biology teacher I knew about 20% of Chemistry 1 students each semester because as I had taught them the previous year.
  • Focus – impact of cooperative learning on student achievement. Sub questions – student perceptions of CL and impact on teacher, both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Since 2003 my district has conducted training in CL with the brother team of Roger and David Johnson out of Minnesota. Recently colleagues have received extensive trainings to conduct in house workshops. We also have peer-taught courses we can sign up for class credit. One such class is taught by a Kagan instructor based on the training of Spencer and Laurie Kagan. Due to NCLB we are struggling as a school and a greater focus has been placed on incorporating these teaching strategies into the curriculum as well as differentiated instruction. The focus is on college readiness standards put out by ACT, our measure for NCLB.
  • One treatment built upon the previous treatment.
  • According to Johnson and Johnson, base groups are social networking groups during which students complete non-academic tasks. They were used for students to develop social skills necessary to work together, such as encouraging others, equalizing participation, helping, asking for help, checking for understanding, staying on task, listening to others, taking turns and recording ideas. The hope was that these skills would then be applied to academic tasks. Base groups were randomly assigned at the start of the semester with stickers applied to folders that were randomly passed out.
  • Kagan uses Structures to set up the steps for student interaction. They are meant to be used in any subject area with any content. They focus on the principles of: Positive interdependence Individual accountability Equal participation Simultaneous interaction
  • Team word finder: like boggle – find words with given letters; variation – find words with chemical symbols. Quiz, quiz, trade – each student was given a note card with a question about safety rules. They went around the room quizzing each other, trading cards, and then quizzing a new person with their newly acquired card. Rally Coach – students work together to solve problems with limited resources: one paper, one/two writing utensils. Students alternate solving problems; ex – one student solves odd while partner coaches and cheers; then students change roles.
  • Draw It! was used to develop social skills. Students wrote their favorites on a note card torn into four pieces. Each base group compiled their pieces of paper which were collected and randomly given to another group to solve. Students again had limited resources with one sheet of paper and one writing utensil. They went around the group taking turns drawing the favorite item written on the scrap pieces of paper.
  • Meant to develop social skills as well as observation skills. Students work in groups of four. Students for worked as individuals to look at their shared picture with their shoulder partner. They silently made note of parts of the picture. Next students worked as pairs to quiz the two students across from them to figure out how the pictures are different. Finally students work as a group to find 20 similarities and 20 differences between the pictures.
  • What are some differences you see between the pictures?
  • RoundRobin/RoundTable - roundrobin (spoken) or roundtable (written) is easily adaptable to the type of group, subject, grade level, etc. The question needs to have the potential for several right answers. When directed to begin, first group member writes answer, passes paper and pen to his/her right. Continue until time limit – 5 minutes - is up.
  • Name of a small animal Two boy’s nicknames A part of corn Another word for corrosion
  • Worked individually on a review sheet to confirm they understood the material (5 minutes). One sheet per person, four separate sheets per team. Worked as a team one at a time to review their own sheet. Moved to a new competitive group to answer questions for points against the others in the group. Points earned return to the team to determine who wins!
  • This is quantitative data pertaining to my focus question. Assessment averages are four the first four units, those in which the treatment was used. CRT – criterion reference test. District-wide test to assess mastery of Chemistry 1 content. All averages compare 1 st and 2 nd semester data, respectively without and with treatment.
  • Data for the 1 st sub question are qualitative and include both teacher and student viewpoints. These only pertain to 2 nd semester student who received the treatment. The survey was given at the start and end of 3 rd quarter. There were 11 survey questions of which only 2 will be addressed here. Focus groups included 11 students total: 6 from my early class and 5 from my latter class. The students were eloquent and honest. Of the questions asked only 2 will be addressed here.
  • Of the 45% of students that changed their response, most stated previously that their preference depended on the work. One such student stated, “It depends who I get to work with but usually with someone else because it’s easier to get work done.”
  • Benefits of working with someone else. About 36% of students changed their responses – help of others as greatest benefit of working with someone else. Of those who changed their responses, they listed more benefits post-survey.
  • Peer contribution in base groups for 1 st activity (Chemical Boggle) compared to the 2 nd activity (Draw It!). Learning from base group activities comments: “ I learned that there are definitely A LOT of things on a penny!!! I also learned that it is okay to speak up once in a while, because you never know what kind of positive will come out of it.” “ That we need to pay attention to details.” “ How to work well with others when sometimes you might not want to work with different people.”
  • Resistant to Draw It! substantiated. Couldn’t draw Couldn’t think of and write down favorites in 3 minutes Why did their responses go to another group? They had a BLAST! Laughing together and at themselves.
  • Great 1 st day, awful 2 nd and 3 rd days! What to do? Colleague Rebecca provided the insight I needed to move on. I needed to focus on their social skills before their academic skills. I really enjoyed those days and I know students in the focus group told me they enjoyed them as well, for various activities. I was constantly telling my colleagues about this activity and that activity. I even added it to my Biology class with good results, leading to the following e-mail. Our department chairs sometimes “walkthrough” and informally assess what we’re doing in the classroom with a brief follow up e-mail.
  • Definitely fantastic, and time consuming. I prepared at least 1-2 hours per week. Plus I took about 35 hours of cooperative classes during 2 full day workshops and many after school classes. These were great because they gave me ideas, but it took a lot of prep time to assemble the materials beyond the planning.
  • Lost without Rebecca who shared a planning period with me and taught the after school course. Some activities she modeled in the course before I implemented them in the classroom. I knew social skills were important but didn’t feel their importance until the activities weren’t turning out as I’d expected! In the beginning I was constantly going to Rebecca for her advice and input. However, at the end of the semester she came to me asking how I had modified the Draw It! to work better!!!
  • Caveat – Chem 1 was new to me 1 st semester so I definitely adjusted my teaching the second time through. However, I find it hard to believe that I would have seen a 6% increase in assessment averages without the treatment. The class and CRT averages spanned the entire semester and did not see as large an increase as the treatment assessments. Looking ahead – I will definitely incorporate cooperative learning in the future, first with a focus on social skills and then on academic skills. I look forward to the benefits of implementing this on a regular basis rather than for a specified period of time.


  • 2. CHEMICAL BOGGLE Focus Because Puck Bunny Noise Phones Those Noon Pick Bacon Brown Crack Functional Financial Frappucino Motives Library Classic brick Violin Phosphorus American Scorn Nobody
  • 3. Overview
    • Background Information
    • Focus
    • Rationale
    • Treatment
    • Data Analysis
    • Conclusion
  • 4. Maine West High School
    • 2,300 students
    • 3 years of science:
      • Chem 1/Phys 1
  • 5. Focus Question
    • Impact of cooperative learning (CL) on student achievement?
    • Sub questions:
      • students’ perceptions positively change?
      • implementation positively impact the instructor’s experience?
  • 6. Rationale
    • Cooperative learning initiatives
    • Differentiated instruction
    • College readiness standards
  • 7. Treatment
    • Base groups
    • Structures
    • Tournament of knowledge
  • 8. Base Groups
    • Random
    • 4-5 students
    • Non-academic tasks (social)
  • 9. Structures
    • Steps for student interaction
      • Example - Variation of Team Word Finder: Chemical Boggle
  • 10. Structures Used
    • Team Word Finder
    • Quiz, Quiz, Trade
    • Rally Coach
    • Draw It!
    • Same-Different
    • RoundRobin/RoundTable
  • 11. Draw It!
    • Draw It!
      • Similar to Pictionary
      • Different rules
  • 12. Same-Different
    • Individual, pairs, group
  • 13. Same-Different
  • 14. RoundRobin/RoundTable
    • Our task is to find as many things as we can from this list on a penny.
      • words, parts of words, images, etc.
    • For example:
      • A small insect = the letter “B”
  • 15. The Penny Page
  • 16. Tournament of Knowledge
    • Individual, Cooperative, Competitive
    Group 8: 2D, 3D, 5D Group 7: 1D, 4D, 6D Group 6: 4C, 5C, 6C Group 5: 1C, 2C, 3C Group 4: 2A, 4A, 5A Group 3: 1A, 3A, 5A Group 2: 4B, 5B, 6B Group 1: 1B, 2B, 3B 4-5a Groups Team 6: 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D Team 5: 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D Team 4: 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D Team 3: 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D Team 2: 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D Team 1: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D 4-5a Teams
  • 17. Data Collection Techniques Research Question Data Sources 1 2 3 Focus question : Impact of cooperative learning on student achievement. Compare Assessment Averages from Semesters 1 & 2 Compare Class Averages from Semesters 1 & 2 Compare CRT from Semesters 1 & 2 Sub question 1 : Will students’ perceptions of cooperative learning positively change throughout the course of the treatment? Pre and Post-Survey Focus Groups Teacher Journal Sub question 2 : Will implementation positively impact the instructor’s classroom experience? Teacher Journal Time Log Colleague Interaction Log
  • 18. Data Collection Techniques
    • Focus question: student achievement impact
      • Assessment averages
      • Class averages
      • CRT averages
  • 19. Assessment Average Comparison
    • Semester 1 - 69%
    • Semester 2 - 75%
  • 20. CRT & Class Averages Control Group Experimental Group CRT Average 74% 78% Class Average 74% 76%
  • 21. Data Collection Techniques
    • Sub question 1: students’ perceptions
      • Pre and post-survey
      • Focus groups
      • Teacher journal
        • Social before academic
  • 22. Survey Response: How Do You Work Best?
  • 23. Survey Response: Altered Perspectives on Benefits
  • 24. Focus Groups: Student Contributions
  • 25. Journal & Focus Groups: Perceptions of Draw It!
  • 26. Data Collection Techniques
    • Sub question 2: teacher impact
      • Teacher journal
      • Time log
      • Colleague interaction log
  • 27. Teacher Journal
    • Social before academic
    • Enjoyment of classroom experience
    • Sharing with colleagues
    • Department chair e-mail
  • 28. “ I loved the activity you were using on Tuesday. All students were actively engaged and the organization kept things moving with the stopwatch and passing of questions to the next table. Don't hesitate to share this with others!” Jay Payne Science Department Chair
  • 29. Time Log
    • Extra hours preparing
    • Kagan and Johnson & Johnson courses
  • 30. Colleague Interaction
    • Colleague input
      • Timing
      • Modeling
    • Lessons learned
    • From:
      • HELP!
    • To:
      • How to!
  • 31. Conclusion
    • Time-consuming
    • Worthwhile
      • Colleague support
    • Caveat:
      • 2 nd time’s a charm
    • Looking ahead
  • 32. With great appreciation to Dr. Eric Brunsell, Project Advisor Susan Kelly, Project Advisor Peggy Taylor, Director Diana Paterson, Associate Director John Graves, Jewel Rueter, Shelley Chrismon, Amy Manhart and many others. And thank you to my family for their love and support.