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Strategy Entry 2 – Jigsaw July 30, 2013

Strategy Description –

The strategy I will be focusing on for this entry is the Jigsaw model. This is a type of instructional strategy that follows the cooperative learning approach where each student in a group is responsible for meaningful and essential contributions towards a group goal. Students interact with each other, are accountable for their part of the task, learn and practice appropriate social skills, and reflect as a group on how well they worked with one another. (Del’Olio & Donk, 2007, p. 246)

The Jigsaw strategy requires each student to learn one part of a content area for which their group is responsible. Students are then responsible for teaching their particular part to the rest of the group. In order for the group learning goal to be met, each member must fulfill his/her role effectively. Furthermore, there is little opportunity for members to dominate over others. Another benefit of this strategy is it is flexible in that it can accommodate different learning styles and abilities as well as be used across the content areas.

Research Elements –

  • Lou et al. have found that cooperative grouping strategies are most effective when used once per week. (as cited in Dean et al., 2012, p. 42)
  • Gerlach 1994 and Vygotsky, 1978 have shown that learning can be maximized through well designed, intentional social interaction with others. (as cited in Dean et al., 2012, p. 37)
  • Bandura states in a 2000 study that deeper learning occurs when students talk through material with others. (as cited in Dean et al., 2012, p. 37-38)
  • Slavin (1991) has synthesized 67 studies that investigated the academic benefits of cooperative learning. Sixty-one percent of these studies show greater achievement in cooperative learning environments than in control groups.
  • Most of the research on cooperative learning has been conducted in grades 3 – 9. More research is needed on the upper grades. (Slavin, 1991)
  • Slavin (1991) has found that the benefits of cooperative learning can be found in urban, suburban, and rural schools.
  • Slavin (1991) also finds that the effectiveness of cooperative learning is enhanced when both group goals and individual accountability are present.
  • Jigsaw lessens classroom emphasis on competition. (Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007)
  • Both White and minority students show more positive attitudes towards school when having participated in Jigsaw activities. (Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007)

Dean, C. B., Hubbell, E. R., Pitler, H., Stone, B. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Denver, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Dell’Olio, J. M., Donk, T. (2007). Models of Teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Slavin, R. E. (1991) Synthesis of Research of Cooperative Learning. Educational leadership, 48(5), 71-82.

Implementation Notes –

  1. Preparation for a Jigsaw activity
    1. Consider lesson content:
  • Third Grade Social Studies Power Standard 2: Understands and analyzes the costs and benefits of people’s decisions to move and relocate to meet their needs and wants.
    • Lesson target: Identifies possible choices people must make when a resource is scarce and predicts the consequences of these choices.
    • Essential understandings:
      • Students understand the impact of scarcity on their personal life and on the households, businesses, governments, and societies in which they are participants.
      • The condition of scarcity requires people to choose among alternatives and bear the consequences.
      • Guiding questions:
        • How do people in different cultures and societies meet their needs and wants?
        • What economic consequences drive people’s decisions?
  1. Consider time forecasting
  • Students have not engaged in Jigsaw activities before but have had some experience in think, pair, share and small group interactions. They have been taught basic social skills such as conflict resolution and group decision making.
  • Plan for 2 – 3 one hour sessions to complete the Jigsaw activity across 2 – 3 days.
  1. Compose groups
  • Since this is the first Jigsaw experience for students the expert groups will be small – approximately 4 students
  • Expert groups will be heterogeneous based on gender, prior knowledge, language skills, and social skills
  • Home groups will be in pairs
  1. Prepare materials
  • Scarcity videos/articles
  1. Water shortage
  2. Gasoline shortage
  3. Food shortage
  • Task sheets
  1. Experts’ task sheet
  2. Home-Group task sheet
  3. Day One
    1. Jigsaw introduction
    2. Expert groups review material, complete task sheets
    3. Teacher addresses questions, facilitates and supports group interactions
    4. Day Two
      1. Review material and task sheets in expert groups
      2. Move to home groups, complete task sheets
      3. Teacher addresses questions, facilitates and supports home group discussions. (At this point, assess if students will be able to complete the Jigsaw experience on this second day. If not, break at this point and complete the activity on day three.)
      4. Whole group debriefing
      5. Small and/or whole group processing. Discuss the Jigsaw process and set goals to improve group work and social skills.
      6. Individual accountability activity

Resources –

Possible expert material:

Jigsaw strategy resources:

Possible task sheet (original artifact):    Expert Group Task Sheet


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