Cooperative Learning..what is that?
There are four aspects of cooperative learning that we have embedded into our curriculum to effectively teach students about ecology. We ask that students build an organic garden at the school campus. Students will work in teams to brainstorm the layout and select fruits and vegetables to grow in their garden. The four aspects of cooperative learning are addressed in this ITU as follows:
1. Positive Interdependence: Students in our classes will understand that they have the right to have their ideas heard, respectfully, by their classmates. By creating a safe environment in the classroom, students will volunteer their ideas to build their organic farm. There are no 'stupid' ideas. Listening to all group members ideas will allow for the most efficient garden to be built.
2. Individual and Group Accountability: We will divide the plot into sections which will need to be cared for by each group. The members in the group are responsible for researching the best soils, gardening techniques, watering frequencies, and organic pesticides to be used in the garden. Students will self-assess and assess each other, so all members in the group must participate.
3. Group Processing: Students will need to collaboratively determine environmental factors that might help or harm their garden. The teacher will not tell them what kinds of things they might encounter in their garden, they will need to think of these things on their own and think of ways to prevent problems. For example, Teachers will ask students "What kinds of things might destroy your organic garden?" Students will form a list and then research ways to prevent issues.
4. Social Skills: Students will be learning social skills by working together in groups assigned by the teacher. They will learn to communicate effectively, listen to one another and admit to their misconceptions.
5. Face-to-face: In each of these activities, students are experiencing face to face interaction. In addition, they will report their findings on a class blog which will teach them how to respectfully and professionally interact over the web for educational purposes.
IRC- City Heights, San Diego
I first learned about the IRC when I went and visited it as part of a school project. It is basically an organic farm that donates foods to people in need.
Students have the option to volunteer here for their one hour commitment. (Read more about this on the next page- Service Learning #2)
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.
At work today in over 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, the IRC restores safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home.
Check out the video about the IRC or click here to learn more!