Cooperative Group Learning

This teaching log is created to keep track of all the workshops, lesson plans, teaching activities and reflections of the project, "Cooperative Group Learning", which is a mandatory program coordinated by the MOE. I was assigned by my school to take on this challenge, but on top of that, I would really love to grab this chance and revolutionize my ways of teaching. Anyway, as I gain more knowledge and skills regarding this topic along the way, this page will be beefed up as well. 

The Bidding Game (B3L1)
When it comes to classification, the bidding game can just come in handy. The idea is that students have to place a bid on the right type of regular past tense verb, and tension runs high when they're losing money. To win the game, students will be more motivated when the teacher is lecturing on the grammatical structure. Teaching procedures are stated as follows:
1. The teacher explains the basic rule of how to form regular past tense verbs, like cleaned, moved, jogged and carried. (
2. Work in groups of five to six. Each student has to go over all the verbs carefully. The teacher walk among them and also call on team leader to check their members' participation.
3. Ask students to fill in the blanks in the exercise, and  constantly remind them that every one has to master the classification.
4. Explain the rules of the game. Emphasize the importance of mastery learning for every one, especially the team can be successful only when everybody is successful. Then, have each group play two trial rounds to make sure they all understand the rules.
5. Randomly choose one player out of each group. Have them stand in the front. When the teacher gives a verb, they have to place their bid immediately. After several rounds, the teacher then tallies up.
6. Recognize the best team's good job.

   Of course, students are easy to lose control when they're having fun, so you can expect the class gets to noisy very often. This activity worked well in one class but not quite exciting in the other. As for the teacher, all he or she has to do is to prepare name tags with slips inside. Then, have the students write down the four types on the paper. Next time when I want to teach adverbs or relative clauses, those name tags will still serve the purpose.

Because You Loved Me (L1)
To wrap up L1 and prepare them for the next lesson, I came up with the idea of using an English song to do something about it, and this song is just perfect in this case. Why? Because it just contains so many past tense verbs, both regular and irregular ones. I downloaded the lyrics and changed the form of the verbs so that students can have a chance to correct them. It looks just like this:

You are my strength when I am weak
     You are my voice when I can't speak
     You are my eyes when I can't see
     You see the best there is in me

Lift me up when I can't reach
     You give me faith 'cause you believe
     I'm everything I am
     Because you love me, ooh, baby
Teaching procedures are stated as follows:
1. The teacher introduces some back ground information about Celine Dion and the main idea of the song in English.
2. Have the students to carefully check the handout, and ask them to try to write correct verb forms next to the wrong ones.
3. Group discussion. Have them check each other's answers.
4. Play the song for the first time, and then give them two miniatures to revise again.
5. Play the song for the second time, and remind them that they have to hand in one copy of their handouts with the most correct answers on it because the best team will be rewarded.
6. Go over the answers and review what they have learned in this lesson.
7. Award the best team.
I thought we would have a good learning experience in this one, but I was wrong because I encountered too many technical problems. The course just wasn't smooth at all. While the whole class was waiting for me to fix the problem, some of them just grabbed the chance  to lose control. I also lost my temper. Quite discouraging, to be honest. I think I really need their report cards to  regroup them so that they can learn that my stick and carrot are for real. 

Developing Fluency Through Active Learning (workshop,0910)
 "Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I'll remember. Involve me, I'll understand". As an English teacher in Taiwan, we’re all good at lecturing, which is a low-risk but also a low engagement approach. Lecturing alone cannot engage most students, not to mention to motivate them and to promote their learning effectiveness. Research has shown that students will learn much better when more language skills are involved, and they learn best if they need to “act”.
The matrix which illustrates the relationship between engagement and risk provides a good framework to examine our activities because we want to make them low-risk but high engagement. To do this, we can make the groups smaller and give clear instructions to decrease periods of inactivity and bolster ongoing engagement. Following that, many useful techniques were introduced, which gave me a new perspective for the textbooks I used to think they’re quite boring. The idea is to create a more interactive activity through pair work or group work even for mundane routines like checking answers or doing mechanical drills. 

分組合作學習專業輔導培訓工作坊 (workshop, 0912-13)
Of course this workshop began with the introduction to relevant ideas and theories with regard to this topic, which I am already familiar with, but I eventually did gain some new perspectives, especially on how to prepare and organize group activities, such as prior preparation, social skills and models of cooperative learning. We became more involved by experiencing group discussion and role assignment.
Also, a very wonderful and experienced English teacher (http://stv.moe.edu.tw/?p=234555) was invited to showcase her model of excellence. She first explained how her students were so willing to answer her questions. With explicit rewarding system and determination, every student is well engaged in her class. Other details, including seat arranging and some possible obstacles, were also shared.
I couldn’t wait to implement some of ideas learned from this workshop in my own class and found they really worked. I tried to establish the idea of individual accountability, reinforcing that every member can contribute to the success of their groups. To achieve this goal, they also need to understand the importance of mastery learning because the team is going to be successful only when everybody is successful. Of course, fried chicken, drinks and some other snacks will surely be very helpful to motivate them.
I asked the little teachers’ help to rearrange the seats based on their previous scores, making sure each group is of mixed abilities. Their homeroom teachers also checked their new seats just to avoid some potential problems when the seating is decided. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.