Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

Using Folders for Cooperative Learning

Thursday, August 20, 2015 to Friday, April 22, 2016

Note: This CATS is being submitted by Rebecca Baranowski, Michelle Breaux, Teri Graham, Sarah Lockhart and Luvia Rivera. In summer 2015, these math faculty attended the Johnson & Johnson Cooperative Learning Institute at SMCC. One of the suggested activities for increasing cooperative learning is to put folders on the tables at the beginning of class. Inside of the folders is a warm up for students to work on together. The institute suggested having only 1-2 sheets of paper in the folder to "force" students to talk to each other about the documents in the folder. Also, students can turn in their homework and collect anything that the instructor may have to pass back. This idea was implemented in fall 2015 and spring 2016 in several math courses by each of the listed instructors. Please see the attached document for each instructor's opinion on the use of folders in the classroom as a cooperative learning tool. Based off of the comments, all instructors like how the folders seemed to increase cooperative learning and helped in building community. One instructor is still not sure if she will continue to utilize them, though - see attached.

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File folder-feedback-instructor.docx15.19 KB


katgw12971's picture
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I think that this is a great idea for team building.  I think that I will use it this summer.  I usually start with a warm-up from the previous lesson that the students complete individually, but by putting in one paper in the folder it will force them to work together. 

PATEP35711's picture
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I used folders in my Eng101 class and found that is was very helpful for my students, but like Luvia, carrying so many folder around was

very cumbersome.  I even purchased a roller cart, but found that carrying arounf 75+ folders was very awkward.  I wonder if technology could be used - virtual folders???

PETAA00009's picture
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Great idea, Becky! I also use folders when I have students work on group projects. The folders include their signed contracts (for more lengthy cooperative learning projects) and a sign-in sheet, which is used for other times (outside of class) that they meet to complete their projects. As a matter of fact, I filed a CATS on the use of contracts. See at:

They really made a difference, especially for those students who are so reluctant to be involved, and for the "dominators" and the "slackers."

Good job, all of you!

ROSAA00006's picture
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Becky, this is one of so many CATS of yours that show your desire to continually improve your instruction, strategies, and practices in the classroom!  You are a tireless role model of commitment to assessment that should be inherent in all faculty-student practices.