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Five Levels of Cooperative Learning
Activities for Adult Learners

Level D
In Level D activities, members of a group need to be at approximately the same level and working on the same material, whether it is a math assignment or a reading selection. The group only meets for one-two sessions. The teacher plans and implements the lesson. Four activities that lend themselves well to students working together and going beyond just reading a selection and answering the questions are Story Impressions (Denner & McGinley, 1986), the DR-TA (Stauffer, 1976), ReQuest (Manzo, 1985), and the Bio-Poem (Gere, 1985), a form of structured writing.

  1. Story Impressions: With Story Impressions, the teacher gives the group a set of key phrases from a story or article and has the group write its own story or article using the given phrases in the given order. Then they read the authored version and discuss how their version is the same and different. The same general format can also be used as an after-reading summarization activity.

  2. DR-TA: The three questions that form the basis of the Directed Reading-Thinking Activity are: 1) What do you think is going to happen next?, 2) Why do you think so? and 3) Were you right? The teacher selects several stopping points during the story and at each point asks the readers to predict what will happen next and provide support from the text or their general knowledge about the situation as proof of their prediction being a logical one. Then they read to find out if they predicted what actually happened.

  3. ReQuest: In ReQuest, the readers determine how far in an article they can read before they need to stop and discuss. The discussion begins with the learners asking questions of the teacher. When the group members can think of no more questions to ask, the teacher asks them questions, careful to model good questions, and simply going on to the next section if the students adequately covered the important ideas through the questions they asked.

  4. Structured Writing: Bio-Poem and other formats: In a small group structured writing activity, students create a bio-poem to demonstrate their understanding of a character from a story, an historical figure, or even a social studies or science concept. Line 1 of the Bio-Poem is the person's first name, line 2 contains four adjectives describing the person, the second to the last line notes a location (Resident of ____ and the last line contains the person's last name. Lines in the middle begin with such stems as "Who likes....," "Who wants...," "Who works for...," "Who dreams about...," etc. Another kind of structured writing is simply to have learners personalize their reading by creating a second verse for a previously read song or poem.

    click here to see two sample poems.

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