Room 255 has been trying out jigsaw activities over the last few weeks. First, we used "The Landlady" jigsaw to do a close read, section by section, with each group doing about 100 lines. This helped us to be able to do a really good close read without getting overwhelmed. After the initial reading, the next class students were placed in new groups with students who had read the other parts. There, they discussed each section.
This past week we listened to the John Lithgow reading of "The Monkey's Paw" that is awesome. As we listened, students annotated, and then I gave each of the five different groups a question to discuss. Next week, we'll be dividing up into groups again, and this time they will be comprised of students who studied the other four questions. By the time they jigsaw the questions, at about 7 minutes per question, they will have the entire story annotated to discuss characterization, setting, mood, theme, and irony.
This has been an awesome way to help students stretch their communication skills from an ELA perspective, but I'm also interested in the social and emotional aspects of this assignment. There are a few students who don't want to share their findings with the new group, but I'm offering anyone who needs it the opportunity to come down to my room to rehearse ahead of time and get the hang of the conversation piece.
One of the best things that happened this week is watching my co-teacher, Laura Klein, connect with students who were dealing with the hardest question--the one about irony. The seating was a great benefit in this situation. Doesn't it just remind you of a bookclub!