EdTe 305


Cooperative Learning: Annual Planning






Johnson and Johnson have probably conducted the most comprehensive research agenda for cooperative learning. They have provided some useful categories for understanding different purposes for cooperative learning. These same categories may help you develop an annual plan for introducing cooperative learning to your students in a systematic way.

Spencer Kagan has also contributed. Catalog and Research


Graphic Organizer--"empty" and "filled"



Cooperative Learning:

Where to Start?





Class/Team Building

Informal Learning Group (short-term, dyads and triads)

Base Groups (long-term accountability and peer support)

Formal Learning Groups (uually long term and determined by the task or the project)

  • learning classmates names
  • sharing interests
  • establish a "we-ness"
  • group names, symbols (identity building)
  • valuing individual differences
  • synergy (the whole is greater than the sum of the parts
  • Social skill development
  • Academic use
    • heads together
  • Usually seated together
  • positive interdependence
  • Provide hlep and support of one another(e.g. absences, remembering materials etc.)
  • passing out materials
  • maintaining our environment
  • problem solving
  • planning class activities (field trips, parties etc.)



The intent of the chart above is to suggest a general pattern for introducing cooperative learning. The top level may be in weeks rather than months, depending on the prior experiences of students. If students have had a great deal of cooperative learning in prior classrooms, you may not need to have as extensive strategies for group-building compared to groups who have not worked cooperatively and demonstrate fewer social skills. One teacher worked until Thanksgiving only on social skills before she would have students participate in class meetings.





 EdTe 226

California State University, Sacramento
October, 2001