The exploration of cooperative learning in this study incorporated the use of the concept of rhythmic development. A series of lessons were developed which included the activities of performing, notating and reading of rhythmic patterns. The lessons were used ina grae four music classroom as a means to teach children how to work in cooperative groups. The lessons included the five critical elements of cooperative learning which include: positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face interaction, development of cooperative skills, and group processing.
Lesson plans were reviewed by teachers whose comments were taken into consideration when reworking the lesson plans to clarify the activities for the children. After the lessons were revised, they were used in the classroom. Data were collected by the use of audio tapes and video tapes that shadowed the interaction of students in the fourth grade music classes. Social strategies used by the children to solve rhythmic performing , notating, or reading problems were highlighted.
I examined student interactions in terms of the following five cooperative learning structures: Roundtable, Think-Pair-Share, Pairs Check, Learning Together, and Numbered Heads Together.
Findings demonstrated that, within my study, groups who were capable of interacting in a positive manner were then able to focus on the musical goals of the lesson while groups who struggled with this interaction focused more on the social goals. This finding leads me to believe that specific and sequential goals need to be established in order to assist in the guidance of the students' interactions. Also, in this study it was found that students were better able to work in groups of four after first having the opportunity to develop their cooperative skills by working in pairs. If these actions are taken by the educator the possibility of the advancement of the students cooperative capabilities will be greatly increased.