Jigsaw: Base Groups/Expert Groups

The purpose of this activity is twofold: first, to comprehend and infer meaning from a text by becoming an expert on a portion of the text; and second, to share information with classmates. Jigsaw is a strategy that places students at the center of the learning experience and builds positive cooperation among classmates. The strategy can be used with a text or with an assignment.

Instructions

  1. The teacher divides the students into groups of equal numbers; four students to a group is ideal. If there are extra students, two students can be partnered and share a role within a group. This is the jigsaw base group.

  2. The teacher divides the text or assignment into chunks so that each student in a group gets one section. That person will be responsible for teaching the information from their chunk to the other group members.

  3. The teacher then allows time for individuals in the jigsaw base groups to read, study, and research their chunks of content.

  4. The teacher then instruct students to form “expert” groups wherein they meet with all students who were assigned the same chunk of content, and then work together to discuss the content and agree on the important points they will share with others.

  5. Students return to their jigsaw base groups, where they take turns presenting their chunks to the others in the group. During the individual presentations, group members take notes, ask questions, and make comments. They then complete their graphic organizers.

Helpful Tips

  1. This activity works best with students at the intermediate low proficiency level and above.

Differentiation

  1. The teacher can intentionally assign different sections of text to students depending on the students' proficiency levels, and can also choose to assign texts with visuals (or even use videos instead of written texts) to aid in comprehension for some students.

  2. As an additional check for understanding, the teacher can ask students to participate in a class discussion or complete a written assignment, in which students give their opinions about the content and support those opinions with evidence.

Materials

  1. An authentic text or an assignment divided into sections (the number of sections should match the number of members in each group)

  2. Graphic organizers for the groups