Tricky Text but Important Facts: JigSaw Group Work

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SWBAT work collaboratively to determine essential facts or details that are needed to understand their section of a passage or piece of text.

Big Idea

Using a the Jigsaw method of group work is a fun way to work with a harder informational text. It allows students to determine the which facts they feel are important and are needed to understand the subject.

Overall Theme and Goal:

5 minutes

Explaining to students the overall goal of group activity is key to its success. To open this lesson I ask students to reflect on our last group project and what worked and didn't work. Some areas I took more time on were respecting each others ideas, everyone focusing on the work, and helping each other out. We did go over that being bossy or not working were not fair to the group. I also added that asking each other questions helps everyone focus and be a prat of the group. 

Once the review was over, I went over the rules of the JigSaw.  I try to connect what we are going to do with what we have done with the regions of Arizona group activity. First, I will number them off. I always ask them to hold up their number afterward to keep from the "I forgot...." I then went ahead and allowed them to get into their groups before giving the directions they needed to follow for successful learning. 

Break Into Groups:

2 minutes

I give the areas of the classroom where they can meet with their like numbered classmates. I then ask them to bring their history book and pencil with them to the group. As they move into their groups, I hand out sticky notes to each student. Two per student works out great. I have students that want to write a lot of notes so I account for this with two stickies. 


The Purpose and Pieces:

10 minutes

Once in their groups, I ask for their eyes and ears. The next part is their job within the group. I am going to give each group a section, they can find their section by looking at the subtitles. As a group they need to read the section, and then decide as a group what the most important facts or details are. These facts are chosen based on what they think everyone in the class should know about their section. Once they have agreed on the facts, they need to transfer them to the sticky notes.

I am going to set a timer on an iPad to help us stay focused. I set it for 10 minutes and then let them get to work. I walk around and ask questions, or try to prompt them into realizing what might be important. I am also looking to see that everyone has a chance to talk within the group, even if it is asking clarifying questions. 

When there is about two minutes left I ask students to make sure everyone in their group has the information that was agreed upon by the group. They need to do a check for understanding so that everyone can leave the group and explain their notes. 

Creating Groups for the Second Group:

2 minutes

When our timer has gone off, I ask again for their eyes and ears. I do a quick check to see that everyone has a sticky note and is ready to break into new groups. This is where the fun part comes in for the class. I ask them to number themselves off 1-5 again within their group. I have them show me their number on their fingers so I know when each group is ready. 

I give the locations again for where each group will meet. I ask them to take their sticky note and text book with them. They will not need their pencil. I allow them to move into their new groups. I ask them to create a circle so that everyone can see who is talking. It also allows for the speaker to see who is listening and who might have questions. 

Purpose and Pieces, Teaching the Second Group:

15 minutes

The purpose of this new group is to teach their section. A key detail is to have students try not use their text book. They need to use their notes or just tell what they remember. Reading from the book might lose their students. When a student is done teaching, they need to allow for questions and also to ask questions to make sure everyone understood. They really like this part. They get to play teacher and student. 

Each student will present to the circle, answer, and ask questions. I walk around to monitor the content of the talking and teaching. I try to focus on the questions as well. This step is a bit harder for them. They are not sure what to ask the group and often ask me to help. I really try not to do this but offer a tip to get them started. To be dangerous, I ask them to ask the group what they think I might ask. This can always be entertaining, you find out what their perception of your questioning sounds like. 

Class Reflection:

5 minutes

When each student has presented, and the group feels like they understand each section, I ask them to return to their desks. I want to go over each section, but I ask that if you were the expert of that section to not answer so I can evaluate their teaching. We then discuss each section and have them add to each other's points.

To close, I ask them to discuss with each other what they though of the activity and when we might use it again. As a class, I have them lead the conversation on what went well, its usefulness, and  if they would like to do this activity again.