Ilene Miller: As you know, today we're going to be studying more about the ancient Olympics. You're going to be in your expert groups, then you're going to be in your home groups. Who can tell me again that the subject for the expert groups will be today?
In studying the ancient Greek Olympics, I found that the jigsaw model to be very effective. The jigsaw model is a cooperative learning strategy where students gather in their expert groups to learn about a particular subject. Once this has been accomplished they return to their home groups as experts, ready to teach and assess the information they've learned.
It's really important in an expert group to really do the teaching. But even more so, what has to come after teaching?
Student 1: Make sure they learn.
IM: Make sure they're really learning. And?
When you practice having kids teach, you practice having them learn it so much more for themselves, and when they assess, they're also learning the information.
Let's review a few things that we could do in our expert groups, when you have to really have consensus about how are we going to split up and teach to our home group? Hands up for ways to teach.
Student 2: Draw a picture and then talk about it.
Student 3: Orally teach it.
Student 4: Worksheets.
Student 5: Play games.
IM: Let's think about how we're going to access, after you've taught your group and you have to say, well, did you learn about chariot racing today? How do I know?
Student 6: You could make a worksheet that would tell us..talk about key words that you used.
Student 7: Have them write down two things that they learned.
Student 8: You could draw a picture and ask them to label the parts.
Student 9: Trivia questions.
IM: Trivia questions, that's always fun.
With the expert group comes the teaching and the assessing, which is not only difficult for fifth graders but a skill that isn't very often practiced in a classroom, but very worthwhile.
Your expert group is written right on the top, your name is right there, your home group is written right below it, just in case you forgot, all right? So no one gets nervous about finding their home group, I really don't care where you sit in the class room but please make sure you're together as a group before you start. You all set? You have all the thoughts in mind? Do what I know you do best.
When I'm deciding upon groupings, I spend probably two hours going over which children I want to be with which children and I do that for many different reasons, for social reasons, for emotional reasons, for intellectual reasons. And every time I form an expert group, I like to mix it up and I'm hopefully forming those groups so that every child is involved.
Student 10: To assess it, I think that we should have every person who we taught it to say five things they remember orally.
IM: And is there another part of the assessment that he has with the index cards? And Mike, was that something different?
Student 11: We're just going to do trivia questions.
IM: To teach?
Student 12: Probably just each have, like each just pick like, things we want to teach. We could each just teach different things in our own groups.
IM: Umm, what's wrong with that?
Student 12: Oh yeah, because we have to an expert in all the expert areas.
S12: The key words that we should underline for discus, underline all of the words in bold. For discus underline 9 and 12 pounds because that's important. A round circle. And write that that's like the field.
Student 13: How do you spell field?
S12: F-I-E-L-D. And make like an arrow pointing to the discus that says that's the discus.
IM: I try and be a facilitator of learning when they're in expert groups by going around to all the groups very often. I involve myself in everyone's process. I do not find it hard to interrupt an expert group when I feel like they might be needing to have extra information so that it will be a successful home group experience when they are teaching. You have to be everywhere at once in a way. You have to look around the room, you have to be a hawk in the sky. and then you have to zoom in.
When you get to your home group, introduce which event you are studying. Everyone take just 30 seconds, 20 seconds to say I have studied chariot racing, I have studied the stadium, I have studied...
To encourage and facilitate learning to continue, you want to emphasize how they're speaking to one another, how they're communicating with their peers. How the dynamics of the class is working. And when you keep emphasizing that enough, that child's going to feel, wow, she liked that, maybe I'll continue it, maybe I'll do it on my own. Maybe I'll do it when I'm not in a expert group.
Student 14: The next sport was wrestling and to win you have to pin your opponent to the ground or you have to make them fall. The last event was the 200 meter sprint.