I love a good jigsaw, and I’m not talking about puzzles. In education, jigsawing is a great way to give students access to vast amount of content without assigning an abundance of articles and questions.
Since Philadelphia had just won their first ever Super Bowl, a huge topic of discussion around town was the destruction left in the aftermath of Sunday night’s celebrations. So, I ditched my pre-planned lessons and gathered a few articles about the mayhem. I tried to obtain articles that had differing points of views so that students could see all opinions. There was one on police brutality and one about white privilege. Overall, I acquired four different articles, each with its own message.
After choosing the articles, I made hard copies and posted all of them on my Google Classroom page (many had videos and pictures that would not print). Students had access to ALL articles, although they were only required to read the one I assigned their group. I grouped students randomly so that each article had about 4 or 5 students assigned to it. Students then chose how to read the article (some took turns reading out loud, some all read it silently then discussed). From there, students used chart paper to highlight important points in the article. Lastly, a spokesperson from each group shared the group’s summary with the class.
For homework, students wrote a letter to Philadelphia’s mayor that outlined their views about what happened after the Super Bowl. They cited evidence from the articles read in class and many urged the mayor to make changes in how the city’s police react to vandalism during major events and celebrations.
If you’re nervous about using the jigsaw strategy in your class, don’t be! Yes, it will be messy and sometimes a bit chaotic, but it’s a great way to encourage teamwork with your students. Also, don’t be afraid to change up the lesson plan! If I get an idea and it doesn’t correspond with what’s on my lesson plan, so what? Just roll with it. Oftentimes, those end up being your best lessons.