Best of Bonk Handouts

For more information, contact Dr. Curt Bonk, Indiana University.

Explaining Some Key Principles:

Building Positive Interdependence (common goal: sink or swim together)

(divide task, contingency rewards, one resource)

  1. Goals: All have same goal-team mural, essay, model, report.
  2. Rewards: Team rec based on all contribs made.
  3. Task:- Division of labor, mini-topics, need 8 hands.
  4. Resources: 1 has scissors, 1 has the paper, glue, marker.
  5. Roles: Complement and necessary roles: Materials Hander, Question Commander, Coach, Encourager, Cheerleader, Taskmaster, Recorder, Checker, Gatekeeper.

Building Individual Accountability (responsible for own learning)

a. pick student at random.
b. everyone certifies correctness.
c. listen and watch students rehearse.
d. assign jobs to each student.
e. students bring completed work to group.
f. color code individual contributions.
g. team scores based on individual scores.
h. have teams reflect on progress and performance.
i. have students reflect and summarize their participation.
j. interview others and share what heard from...

Building Social Skills and Trust . . . (4 Fs)

Trust/Group Bonding

  1. Where were you born?
  2. Favorite hobby, music group, color?
  3. Proudest accomplishment?

  4. A good movie I've seen is...
  5. 1 wish I had a second chance at...
  6. A pet peeve

  7. How many brothers and sisters.
  8. A career I would like and why
  9. An organization/club I belong to...
  10. Where I wish I was born and why...

    (pets, food, birthday, wishes, lucky #, most boring.... T.V. shows, favorite zoo animal, fav car)

b. 4 F's

Forming- Organize and Establish Groups
Functioning: Manage, Implement, Support, Motivate and Accept
Formulating: Understand, Review, and Learn New Strategies
Fermenting: Disagreement, Controversy, and Alternative Answers

Grouping Strategies (ability gender, personality race, reward structure)

  1. Kindergarten-Grade 1: student choice, by alphabet, eye color, count off
  2. Grades 2-4: color of clothing, by age, by bus, food prefs, kinds of shoes
  3. Other. by birthdays (group by month), favorite ice cream, # of syllables in name

Keep in Mind:

  1. help not equally effective-giving and receiving explanations are beneficial, not terminal help
  2. in uneven groups, boys are more successful
  3. groups with only high and low ability groups do little explaining
  4. extroverts receive more explanations than introverts


  1. grade performance on tests and quizzes individually
  2. give group grades for group processes
  3. avoid group grades for group products
  4. avoid competition between groups
  5. have all group members sign group reports

Reaching Difficult Students (see also Blueprints: p. 73)

  1. Keep the group small (2-3 members)
    a. Have list who want to work with-assign two skillful, popular, caring students to him/her
  2. Focus assignment on social skills when don't get along
  3. Incorporate student interests into assignment (e.g., sports)
  4. Give a role where student can shine (e.g., art/graphics)
  5. Strengthen the group goal by offering what individual would like
  6. Evaluate individually, but offer bonus points for group mastery
  7. Give unmotivated student responsibility (e.g., tutoring)
  8. Persist in teaching cooperative skills
    a. Offer the group points for displaying specific coop behaviors
    b. Encourage encouragement and "high five's"
  9. Begin teacher monitoring with that group
  10. Celebrate group success.
  11. Move the student from the spotlight.
  12. Distract the student with a question.
  13. Highlight students behaving appropriately.

Copyright 1998, Curtis J. Bonk; The Trustees of Indiana University

to Cooperative Learning Handout Index