Jigsaw Strategy

The jigsaw strategy is a cooperative learning technique appropriate for students from 3rd to 12th grade. It is also used extensively in adult English Second Language (or ESL) classes. The strategy is an efficient teaching method that also encourages listening, engagement, interaction, peer teaching, and cooperation by giving each member of the group an essential part to play in the academic activity. Both individual and group accountability are built into the process. In classrooms, jigsaws are a four-skills approach integrating reading, speaking, listening and writing.

1. Decide how to divide students into Home groups of no more than four.
2. Ask the students in the groups to each assign themselves a letter (A – D).
3. Have students form new groups (of all A’s, B’s, etc.) to become Expert groups.
4. Ask one member of each group to pick up sheets providing information and questions about their topic.
5. Allot enough time for students to become familiar with their topic, jot down notes, and check their understanding.
6. Have students thank their Expert group and return to their Home group. The A's present their expert information to their Home groups first, the B’s do so next, until everyone has presented and shared the research on their topic, and has checked that the information has been understood.

Hints and Management Ideas
  • Pre-assign groups. You can incorporate letter heads (a-d) and divide the class.
  • Give ample time for Expert and Home groups to gather, discuss, and share their research (15 minutes is a reasonable time).
  • Make sure that your instructions are clear and that they are visible for students.
  • Monitor the discussions for common confusions and to be sure students are staying on track.

Benefits of Using the Jigsaw Strategy
  • Integrates reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
  • Teacher is not the sole provider of knowledge.
  • Students take ownership in the work and achievement.
  • Students are held accountable among their peers.
  • Learning revolves around interaction with peers and gives them time to communicate and check for understanding prior to presenting to the Home group.
  • Students are active participants in the learning process.
  • Builds interpersonal and interactive skills.
  • When students have appropriate ‘think time’, the quality of their responses improves.
  • Students are actively engaged in the thinking and in becoming ‘mini’ experts on the topic assigned to them.
  • Many students find it safer or easier to enter into a discussion with a classmate, rather than with a large group. In this activity, everyone gets a chance to share.

Instructional Strategies Online - Jigsaw

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SOCIAL STUDIES/ WORLD WAR IIFirst divide the class into equal groups of five. Each group will be responsible for a different task. Group one will research Hitler's rise to power. Group two will uncover the devastation of concentration camps. Group three will cover Britain's role in the war. Group four will uncover the contribution of the Soviet Union to World War Two. Group five will research Japan's entry into the war. Collectively each group will gather and discuss information on their task.
For phase two of Jigsaw each group member will be reassigned to a different group with fellow students that collected information on a different task. As a new formation they will share and piece together information on World War Two. Each student will take time to share their collective data, and, as a whole, the group will discuss how each event contributed to making the war.

First, the class will be divided into five concept groups. The concepts include alliteration, consonance, rhyme, symbolism and repetition. Each concept group will read the poem together and collect information regarding their concept. Three specific examples from "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe must support a definition of the concept at hand.
For phase two the students will move into different groups with members who worked on different concepts of the poem. Each group member is responsible for teaching the others their definition and concept examples. Then, as a whole, the students will discuss each concept and how they relate to "The Raven" and its overall meaning.

First, students are to be divided into equal groups of five. Each group will be assigned a specific fairy tale to read such as "The Ugly Duckling", "Snow White", "Hansel and Gretel", "Jack and the Bean Stalk" or "The Three Little Pigs" etc.
The groups then discuss the following questions: Who are the characters in the story, where does the story take place, what are the major events of the story, are there supernatural or magical events that take place, and if so, what are they? The students will then read, discuss, and record their findings.
For phase two of Jigsaw, new groups will be assigned with students who analyzed different fairy tales. Each student will have about three minutes to discuss and share the information on their fairy tale. Finally the groups will create a poster board to share with the class that reflects on what the five fairy tales have in common and what their definitions of a fairy tale are.

After teaching and practicing the responsibilities of a play in one direction, have each member of the team carefully instruct their opposite in the responsibilities for the reversed play.
For example: After learning the play to the right, the team is given several minutes where the right guard and left guard discuss their reversed roles, the right tackle and left tackle converse and teach each other their new mirrored responsibilities, and so on, leaving the coaching staff to only cover specific details and teach those players who do not have a mirroring teammate, such as the quarterback.

Have 5 groups. Evenly displace students within these 5 groups. Assign one method to each group: substitution, elimination, graphing, matrices, and Cramers Rule. Become an expert with assigned method. Have the groups number off in each group (1,2,3,4,...). Then have matching numbered students meet together. All the 1's will be an expert of a different method. Likewise for 2, 3, 4... Have each person explain a problem using their assigned method and have the group try a problem within the explanation time. Students should use the same problems to model their method and note it doesn't matter what method is chosen to solve, the same answer is derived regardless.

Interacting with Complex Texts: Jigsaw Project
Grades 6-8, ELA, ELL; CCSS: ELA.RI.7.8 ELA.RI.8.8