Suzie West

The Power Of Because and Cooperative Learning

When analyzing the data from the beginning of the year Measures of Academic Progress assessment I noticed that sixty-three percent of students are performing below grade level benchmark. As I desegregated the data a little more, I realized that the biggest area of deficiency was in Vocabulary Acquisition and Use.   So the improvement goal that I decided to implement was  to find a tool that will help my students achieve deeper learning by allowing them to better understand vocabulary use and acquisition and in turn become more fluent readers.  The tool I selected to test was the “Because” tool and I facilitated it  through using  the Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategy, Quiz, Quiz, Trade.The goal of my study was to see whether using the Thoughtful Classroom, Because tool in conjunction with the Kagan Cooperative Learning structure, Quiz, Quiz, Trade would affect my students ability to explain their thinking and allow them to improve vocabulary skills positively affecting their reading fluency. My findings indicated that the experimental group that received instruction using the Because tool along with the Quiz-Quiz-Trade tool showed significantly more growth. In fact, using the data from the E-Spark exit assessments, the experimental group using the tools outperformed the other group by 34 percent.  Out of 50 skills that were covered within the E-Spark program the experiemental group using the tools mastered 47. In my teacher observations and weekly anecdotal notes one of the aspects that are always noted is how much more the students using the tools were excited about learning. The student perception surveys showed that the experimental group using the tools were a little shy and withdrawn at first, but quickly grew to love using the tools and noted that they felt like they were learning more because of the increased discussion with their classmates. I did get the results that I expected.  The students using the tools did remarkably better than the students in the control group who did not use the tools.  I did see some weeks that both groups scored similarly, but overall the group using the tools showed much greater proficiency. The possible reasons for the weeks that the scores were similar can be attributed to NTI days and a lack of being able to use the tools with the experimental group.  I learned how important having students actively engaged in their daily instruction can be.  I will make certain that I always include these tools to give my students the greatest opportunity for success.  The results did support the idea that I was testing.  When students are actively involved in learning and share their ideas with others, then proficiency increases.  Using the Because tool and the Quiz-Quiz-Trade tools has proved this idea to be valid. 

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