This lesson plan is day three for the unit plan Short Stories, Life Themes, and the Five Paragraph Essay. The unit plan is a layered writing plan. Students develop paragraphs for each story, and as a summative assessment for the unit, the students write an MLA formatted essay examining the themes found in the stories. This specific lesson is a post-reading activity for “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” The lesson looks at the story and helps students identify the major theme of the story and apply it to their own lives through a group jigsaw activity, and a short writing response. Students are also asked to look at how well their group functioned by responding to a cooperative learning rubric.
The lesson activity scaffolds learning and allows for peer discussion and review. These specific activities support InTASC Standards 1 (b, d, and f): The teacher creates developmentally appropriate instruction that takes into account individual learners’ strengths, interests, and needs and that enables each learner to advance and accelerate his/her learning. The teacher understands how learning occurs–how learners construct knowledge, acquire skills, and develop disciplined thinking processes–and knows how to use instructional strategies that promote student learning. The teacher identifies readiness for learning, and understands how development in any one area may affect performance in others.
The jigsaw activity is a cooperative learning technique that increases student learning outcomes. The activity requires effort from each student in order to come to a complete understanding of the material. The jigsaw activity supports InTASC Standard 3(j and o): The teacher knows how to help learners work productively and cooperatively with each other to achieve learning goals. The teacher values the role of learners in promoting each other’s learning and recognizes the importance of peer relationships in establishing a climate of learning.
Using a jigsaw activity to explore life themes from an international perspective also supports InTASC Standard 4(b) and 6(t): The teacher engages students in learning experiences in the discipline(s) that encourage learners to understand, question, and analyze ideas from diverse perspectives so that they master the content. The teacher is committed to using multiple types of assessment processes to support, verify, and document learning.
ISTE NET-S Standards
The jigsaw activity is a supportive, yet demanding activity that allows students to perform at their best in a scaffolded environment. The lesson plan asks students to work within the jigsaw activity to become expert at aspects of the theme, and also to be students of their peers. As students work through the jigsaw activity they will be required to collaborate, think about their learning and instruction, and plan their delivery of instruction in creative ways. These activities support ISTE NET-S Standard 1(c) which asks teachers to promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning and creative processes.
Graphic Organizers for the Lesson