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This cooperative-learning reading technique gives students the opportunity to specialize in one aspect of a topic, master the topic, and teach the material to group members. Asking students to work together in a Jigsaw builds comprehension, encourages cooperation, and improves communication and problem-solving skills.

How to use

1. Prepare

Divide the reading selection into four segments, or prepare four separate reading selections on the content you are teaching. Put students into groups of four. These groups will be the “home groups” of the jigsaw. Prepare a direction sheet to help students to answer questions and gather information on each segment or selection .

2. Introduce to Home Groups

Divide the class into their home groups. Explain the strategy and the topic of study. Tell students that they are going to be responsible for teaching one segment or selection to the group they are sitting with now.

3. Break into Expert Groups

Now students will leave their home group to sit with a group of students assigned to the same reading segment or selection, their “expert group.” Ask students to begin reading to themselves, or have them take turns reading aloud. When students are finished reading, the group should discuss their segment, fill out their direction sheet, and decide what and how they should present to their home groups.

4. Regroup with "Home Groups"

Students regroup with their home groups. Each student is responsible for teaching their reading segment or selection to their home group.  All students are responsible for learning all material.  Determine how you’d like students to organize and summarize all the information they’ve learned.  For example, you can provide a graphic organizer or ask them to make a poster to share with the class.

When to use

Use Jigsaw at any point in the lesson to structure meaningful conversation across a wide range of material. Use it when you are:

  • Building background knowledge on a unit of study
  • Conducting an author study before beginning a new novel
  • Learning about different viewpoints on a historical event or discovery
  • Focusing on complementary – or divergent – concepts in a unit of study
  • Reviewing different aspects of a unit of study to prepare for an assessment


Expert Group Panels

To work on students’ discussion and presentation techniques in a larger group setting, have the expert groups present to the class. In turn, the whole class is responsible for asking questions and learning about each topic.

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