Cooperative learning with IXL

Maggie Rex is a Professional Learning Specialist with seven years of classroom experience at the middle and high school levels.

When students entered my classroom for the day, they knew they would be working with one another in some capacity. That’s because I made cooperative learning a key part of my lesson plans.

Cooperative learning allows students to collaborate with one another to learn a new concept. Through conversation and critical thinking skills, learners get the opportunity to work together and accomplish a common goal!

With cooperative learning, students not only learn the standards and skills you are teaching, but they also learn to effectively work and communicate with each other, as well as build relationships that last. The rewards for cooperative learning are endless, and IXL can make it easy to implement. Through IXL, teachers can quickly create collaborative groups, build classroom community, and enhance student learning.

Form groups or pairs

IXL Analytics makes it easy to group students based on their learning. The Skill Analysis report shows the distribution of your students’ levels for a specific skill that you have worked on in class. Group or pair students who are on the same level for that skill, or create mixed groups by placing a student who has a better understanding of the concept with a student who is struggling.

Promote interaction

Once the groups are made, encourage discussion by creating explicit instructions and having structures in place for students to follow. For example, it is helpful to give students roles in their group so each student has a responsibility, such as facilitator, recorder, challenger, or speaker.

You can also hang Anchor Charts with “Team Talk” sentence starters to guide students on how to speak to one another in an educational setting. Showing students how they can frame their responses will inspire more meaningful discourse in class.

Encourage friendly competition

Once students are used to working with the peers in their groups, it can be fun for the groups to interact with each other through some spirited competition. Here’s one way you can use IXL to facilitate a class contest:

  1. Start a Group Jam or project a question from a skill and give students time to think or answer independently.
  2. Set a timer for students to turn and talk to their group and decide on a final answer — have students show their thinking.
  3. Share out with the class! Show the groups’ answers to the Group Jam, or have students write their group’s response on a whiteboard or sheet of paper for everyone to see.

See which group can get to the correct answer first, or which group answers the most questions correctly overall!

When you release students to work toward their Smartscore goals independently, you could additionally start a Leaderboard to see which group will have the highest ranked students for that skill. This will continue the group mentality and motivate students to try their hardest.

To find more inspiration for cooperative learning opportunities, visit IXL’s classroom engagement toolkit.