Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Cooperative Learning Strategy You Forget About

Do you get stressed trying to squeeze in all the curriculum you need to cover? This is Deanna from A Primary Owl and believe me this is my daily struggle! I teach third grade and the amount of Social Studies and Science topics we have to cover is we take District Assessments over all these topics so nothing can be skipped or else my students will bomb the tests.

One of my go-to strategies is one that has been around a long time, it's one of those oldies but goodies. So when I am crunched for time, I have my students JIGSAW the topics and let THEM be the experts. They love this part, I tell them they are going to be the teachers. Third graders just eat that up:)
Here is a great website that can give you the break down of all the steps but the first thing I decide is how I want to break apart the material being studied. Often for me, it is a chapter in a textbook. For example, right now we are studying the Habitats of Georgia so I divided the groups into the different regions.
Then decide how many students will need to be in each group. I let my students pick the group they want to be in but you can also assign groups. Then give the groups their guidelines on how they are going to study and present the material. This is where large chart paper comes in handy! I almost always have my groups make a chart.
After each group has time to study the material and decide how to "teach" it, it is time to do the presenting. The idea is that you take one expert from each group and form the JIGSAW groups, where each person presents their material to a small group. Sometimes, I have the groups present to the class as a whole (depending on the subject matter and how many groups I have).
One important step, is to make sure you have a way for students to demonstrate what they learned from each group. You may want them to take notes as each person presents, or have a short formative assessment.
This strategy works so well and students love it. They enjoy learning from their peers and I love being able to cover topics in an efficient way. You can get a copy of my planning guide by clicking the picture:
So don't forget about this awesome strategy the next time you're trying to squeeze it all in!

Don't forget to keep checking back with us, we've got some great tips for fall coming up!