Best Practices for Classroom Cooperation

Engage students in a discussion to establish classroom norms around cooperation, then reinforce their learning with a fun Kahoot! game!
Ages 5-14 / 30
min Activity
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Objectives

  • Establish classroom norms that promote a cooperative environment, in which each student plays an important and unique role in achieving collective goals
  • Reinforce their cooperative skills by playing a Kahoot! game, and engage in role-playing exercises, poll questions, and reflections

Supporting Research

This activity is based on the Learning Together approach, which aims to promote group harmony with a foundation based on social interdependence theory, and is proven to lead to higher academic achievement, as well as positive changes to students’ perceptions of peer support and interpersonal liking. Thus, this activity fosters students’ skills around diplomacy, inclusivity, and collaboration as they identify and practice effective strategies for working together in groups. 

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.

Materials

Activity Partners

Instructions

  1. Engage students in a classroom discussion about the importance of equitable team roles and diverse perspectives when working on a cooperative goal (e.g., during a group project). Consider establishing and writing down classroom norms for cooperation, such as:
    • We will work together toward our common goals.
    • We will each play equal and fair roles in achieving our goals.
    • We will support and empower each other.
    • We are better together when we welcome different ideas and perspectives.
    • We will use kind and respectful communication with others.
    • By trusting each other and working together, we will be successful!
  2. During group projects, consider developing and assigning individual student roles that rely on the following four elements:
    • Positive interdependence:
    roles that rely on each other in order to accomplish a common goal
    • Promotive interaction
    : roles that require students to promote and encourage each other through their interactions
    • Individual accountability:
    roles that involve an equal and fair amount of work
    • Social skills:
    roles that use and reinforce social skills such as respectful communication and perspective taking

    For more information on assigning equitable student roles, review this article by Bonnie Coggeshall.
  3. Consider assigning roles in a manner that challenges students’ assumptions about themselves and others, allowing them to develop new skills and perspectives. 

    Provide a clear description of each role, and remind students to follow expectations around each role. Some examples of student roles that you can assign (based on the POGIL model) are:
    • Encourager:
    encourages team members to be creative, stay focused and open-minded, contribute respectfully to discussions, and follow deadlines
    • Reporter:
    shares and acquires information by asking questions, clarifying details, and checking facts
    • Observer:
    helps the group cooperate and reach a consensus or decision by observing and processing different perspectives, and then summarizing ideas
    • Note-taker:
    records important information during group discussions (e.g., key decisions, ideas, insights, etc.)
  4. Consider playing this Kahoot! game with your students to reinforce their cooperative skills. This game introduces different ways that they can work together to accomplish a common goal, and highlights the importance of recognizing and appreciating each person’s unique strengths. Students will also engage in short role-playing exercises, answer poll questions about themselves, and reflect on what they learned.

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.