20131211_111936Cooperative learning groups play an important role in our 5th grade reading class. Groups are made up of 5 – 6 students. Each student has a different responsibility in the group depending on the assignment.

Today we had a series of group learning activities to complete. In the first activity groups were given a passage that included a vital vocabulary word. The students had to use context clues and their schema (what they already knew) to determine the meaning of the vital vocabulary word. Using context clues to determine the meaning of new words is one of the major shifts in Alabama’s new College and Career Ready Standards. In 5th grade, we no longer memorize definitions. We compose our own definitions based on context clues within the text.

We also completed a “jig-saw puzzle” activity. The text was broken into small segments. Each group was assigned a segment to read. The groups composed short summaries of their assigned segments. Each group shared their summary aloud with the whole group. This put all of the pieces of our “jig-saw puzzle” back together, effectively summarizing the entire text.

The last activity involved answering open response questions. Groups were given questions about: the point of view and the impact of that point of view on the text, comparing and contrasting two settings, as well as making inferences from the text. Groups had to discuss their personal answers and then compose a group answer to the open ended question.

It is amazing to just walk from group to group listening to their ideas about the text. The 5th grade has come so far since August. We still have a long way to go, but we are excited about the journey!