Saturday, November 22, 2014

NaBloPoMo #15 Jigsawing questions

I've been reading The Highly Engaged Classroom by Marzano with my online PLN.  Marzano cites research that relates physical movement to higher levels of engagement in the classroom.

With that in mind, I've been trying to be aware of the movement in class.  And when possible getting students up out of their seats.

So in class the other day, we had 6 higher order thinking questions that I wanted students to consider.  Our desks were in pairs.  I put a piece of tape on each pair of desks with one question marked on the tape ... so that each pair had one question assigned to them.

Pairs had 5 to 8 minutes to discuss the one question given them.  Then I asked pairs to partner up ... all those who had the same question.

After partners with the same problem had an opportunity to share their answers and correct any errors, I asked students who had different problems to meet up and explain their work.  So pairs with questions 1 and 2 met up, then 3 and 4 met up, then 5 and 6 met up.  They explained their respective assigned problems and everyone took notes.

We split up one more time ... so that by the end of the rounds, every student had discussed half of the assigned problems with someone else.

Students were then asked to finish the other three on their own.  We checked them together after a few minutes.

As pairs were partnering up, I noticed that some students chose to stay seated and encouraged others to come to their desks.  This is the pattern I see - that whenever possible some students resist leaving their seats.  Even when I plan vertical activities ... like scavenger hunts (or circuits as we call them), students will move the activity so they can sit on the floor instead of standing.  Or some will even take pictures of activities so they can do the work in their desks.

Is movement itself important or is the choice or opportunity to move important?  Do I insist that students get up?  Or do I offer the opportunity to work wherever or however they are comfortable?


  1. I seem to have the same problem in my classroom. It is frustrating to me that I spend time trying to create something that is not just another worksheet, and they treat it as if it is one. Perhaps it is years of conditioning to not get out of their seats. Unfortunately, those that choose not to participate are also usually those that are my lower performing students. If you come up with a solution to this, I would love to hear it!!

    1. Exactly, Sarah ... the very students I'm targeting are the ones seeking a place to sit down ...

      I can't help but wonder if we are misinterpreting the research on movement ... I need to read some more!