Complex Instruction Resources


Group Roles

Picture Role Cards for Younger Students

Role Cards


Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom

By Elizabeth Cohen and Rachel Lotan

As teachers today work in ever more challenging contexts, groupwork remains a particularly effective pedagogical strategy. Based on years of research and teaching experience, the new edition of this popular book features significant updates on the successful use of cooperative learning to build equitable classrooms. Designing Groupwork, Third Edition incorporates current research findings with new material on what makes for a groupworthy task, and shows how groupwork contributes to growth and development in the language of instruction. Responding to new curriculum standards and assessments across all grade levels and subject areas, this edition shows teachers how to organize their classroom so that all students participate actively. This valuable and sensible resource is essential reading for educators at both the elementary and secondary levels, for teachers in training, and for anyone working in the field of education.

you can check here Book Features:

* Easy-to-follow examples and research-based teaching strategies.
* The advantages and dilemmas of using groupwork in academically and linguistically diverse classrooms.
* Step-by-step approaches to successful planning, implementation, and evaluation of groupwork activities.
* Research findings from the work of the Program for Complex Instruction at Stanford University and other scholarly studies.


Smarter Together! Collaboration and Equity in the Elementary Math Classroom

By Helen Featherstone, Sandra Crespo, Lisa Jilk, Joy Oslund, Amy Parks, Marcy Wood

One of the boys in the group responded, “That’s so smart! That’s so smart! That’s what we should do!” Complex Instruction (CI) is a response to the paradox that group work offers much potential but often creates circumstances where few students seem to learn. CI is a set of ideas and strategies that address the problems that confound group work, but that create powerful learning for children. This book offers guidance to readers on how to use these strategies and ideas. The authors describe the lessons they learned using group work, explain how complex instruction helps unsuccessful students, and analyze how to design assignments that support group learning—using group-worthy tasks—giving readers examples of good tasks and help in adapting math problems from their own curricula.


Reimagining the Mathematics Classroom

by Cathery Yeh, Mark W. Ellis, Carolee Koehn Hurtado

How can you maximize your students’ learning as they engage in mathematics? What does the latest research reveal about developing mathematically strong  and engrossing math instruction?

Reimagining the Mathematics Classroom presents a comprehensive systems approach to examining mathematics teaching. It synthesizes and illustrates current research on the essential elements of mathematics teaching and learning, unpacking each component—the classroom physical space; mathematical discourse, tasks, assessments; and families and communities—and providing concrete practical strategies and tools teachers can apply directly to their work. In addition, tips on using technology to assess and enhance learning are embedded throughout the book.


Strength in Numbers: Collaborative Learning in Secondary Mathematics

By Ilana Horn'

click to find out more Students who work together, succeed together. Isn’t that every teacher’s goal?

  • Use group work effectively to create a learning environment in the secondary mathematics classroom
  • Learn how students experience learning mathematics in collaborative settings
  • Develop tasks, concepts, strategies, and tools that create successful group work and reach students of all abilities

Written by a seasoned teacher, researcher and teacher educator with over two decades of teaching experience, the goal of this book is to support teachers in developing tools for effective group work in their secondary mathematics classrooms. Effective group work engages children’s own thinking and allows them to work together to understand a concept. It can also address problems that often arise in typical mathematics instruction by providing a framework for teachers to create engaging learning environments. The book outlines ways to choose tasks, help students adjust to new ways of approaching schoolwork, and discusses the types of status problems that can impede the most earnest attempts at collaborative learning. This practical, useful book introduces tested tools and concepts for creating equitable collaborative learning environments that supports all students and develops confidence in their mathematical ability.


"HeteroGENIUS" Classrooms: Detracking Math and Science - A Look at Groupwork in Action

By Maika Watanabe

While researchers have documented the promise of detracking reform, many teachers still find it difficult to teach students with a wide range of academic skills in one classroom. Through engaging classroom footage and powerful interviews with teachers, students, and administrators, this 80-minute DVD showcases best practices from successful detracked math and science secondary classrooms. The companion book features the backdrop to the film, including lesson plans, student handouts, rubrics, and reflections written by featured teachers in order of their appearance in the film. Concluding chapters cover topics such as support for struggling students, professional development opportunities for teachers, and frequently asked questions about and additional resources on detracking.

In this current high-stakes testing climate, educators must make a decision about how to address the needs of students who are not meeting grade-level expectations. Do they place these students in separate, remedial classes, or do they detrack? This resource shows that detracking--more rigor with multiple entry points and support--is the socially just and effective alternative to remediation through tracking.