This is a brand new activity for my class and a spin on the Jig-Saw approach to having students take ownership of their learning. I am dividing my class up into three groups and each group is assigned to one of three regions of Arizona: desert, mountains, and plateau.
Before we begin I go over a few rules and the instructions for the first part of the activity. The rules we go over include being respectful and letting everyone in the group have a say. Taking into consideration each other's ideas is also important. I explain that a group vote is a good way to decide if more than one idea exists.
To break into groups, I am going to let the students divide themselves by the region they took notes on for their folder project. This was the project they created out of the Nifty Note Lesson.
I remind students that everyone must have a say and be responsible for a section of the poster and will have a part in the presentation and teaching of their region. I go over the rules and how to be respectful again, you can never go over that too much.
I assign three spots in the room for each group and explain that each student will need to bring their history book, a piece of paper, and pencil.
Before they begin, each group needs to assign a group leader. This person is not the boss, but someone who will help keep the group on track and record information I will need from each group. The group leader will record each member's name, and the portion of the region they will be working on.
I allow students only a few minutes to choose a group leader. I did not tell them how to select the leader, but observed to see how they chose to do this. One group played rock, paper, scissors to pick between two students. The second, each talked it over and chose the girl that is very smart but also very patient. The third group, did the argument approach. Two wanted the job badly and they could not decide. So when time was up I asked them to each shout a name and the student I heard from the other members is who I went with.
The next part is to have each group read the region's section as a group. I let the groups decide if they are going to take turns, one person read most of it, or choose a couple of readers. This selection process went very smoothly and they were off and reading in no time. I observed a little of all three choices and it was wonderful hear students ask questions of the reading as they listened/read along.
The last thing needed is the assigning of the sections that will each student will create a note or notes for to add to the poster. Multiple students can work on section, but each student needs their own fact. Both can be the expert of that section. I gave out the section titles at this time: climate, land, plants, animals, and industry. They can also add interesting facts to their poster.
I ask each group leader to write down each members section on one piece of paper. I will be collecting this as an assessment piece to take down my notes on what I saw the strengths and weaknesses of each group were. This will be a portion of their grade.