Tuesday, April 16, 2019

JIGSAW Reading Strategy

Research proves that the best way to learn is to teach. The Jigsaw reading strategy is a cooperative activity in which students take on the role of  "experts" about an assigned reading passage or topic and teach the information to their group members.

The benefits of this strategy include:
1. It will help students with various reading abilities gain comprehension.
2. It will save a lot of time when there is a lot of content to teach.
3. Students will be able to practice listening and speaking skills, especially helpful for students who are designated English Language Learners (ELL).
4. Discussion of reading passages will help students remember important ideas.

Steps to implement the strategy in your classroom:
1. Choose a long reading passage and divide it into even sections. (I have four students per group, so I divided the readings into four sections.)
2. Divide your class into "home" groups. The amount of students per group depends on the class size and the number of sections per reading.
3. Assign each student a specific section of the reading.
4. Students who have the same assigned reading will form "expert groups" and read aloud their assigned text. You may require students to annotate the reading and complete a corresponding graphic organizer or answer key questions. Be sure all students are discussing the reading with their "expert" groups so to confirm comprehension.
5. Once "expert" groups have completed their assigned reading, have students return back to their "home" groups. 
6. Have students share the main ideas from their reading to their "home" group members. Group members will take notes on their graphic organizer.

Below are examples of the Jigsaw strategy I use in my classroom.

MAIN Causes of World War I

Landmark Supreme Court Cases

Note: Although this is a group project, this could easily be revised into a Jigsaw activity.

Special Fight Forces of World War II

Have you used this strategy in your classroom before? If not, what are you waiting for?

Happy Teaching,
Chalk Dust Diva

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Sometimes after teaching a lesson in my history class, I look at the students to get some type of reinforcement that they understand the content. I head nod, a comment, anything would be nice. But what often happens is that I get met with a sea of blank faces.  And that's why I often incorporate frequent checks for understanding. Thumbs Up, Down, Sideways is an easy and quick strategy to use to see which students are understanding the content and which students may need more help. 

I try to incorporate CFU's every 10 minutes throughout a lesson. When I use this strategy I simply ask students how well they understand the content I'm teaching. They place their thumb close to their body facing up (I understand the content), thumbs to the side (I understand the content but I need more clarification) or, thumbs down (I don't understand most of the content). This CFU is especially helpful for students who have high anxiety in sharing their lack of understanding since no other student can see their response. 

What types of checks-for-understanding do you use in your classroom?

Happy Teaching!
Chalk Dust Diva
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