The jigsaw method is my absolute favorite strategy for having students teach one another content, but there are some common mistakes that happen. These mistakes can turn an awesome collaborative experience into a hot mess in no time flat.
Need a refresher on the Jigsaw Method? Check out this post!
In order to get the full impact of the jigsaw method, avoid the following mistakes.
Jigsaw Method Mistake #1
Not Having a Plan
The Jigsaw Method is not one of those learning strategies that you can decide to do at the last minute. It takes time to pull the right information and make a plan.
When making your plan you need to think about your end goal. This means considering:
- What topics you want students to cover
- Where your information chunks will come from
- How you will group your students
- How will you assess your students’ learning
When you make a plan and get your materials together, you are ready for a collaborative learning experience that will put your students in the driver’s seat.
Jigsaw Method Mistake #2
Group size is kind of like Goldilocks. You don’t want groups to be so big that a student gets lost in the crowd. You also don’t want groups to be so small that students have enough time and people to get the work done. They need to be just right.
For me, the ideal group size is four students. This is for the expert groups. The Jigsaw groups will need to be the number of information chunks you have, but ideally, when they break into their expert or presentation groups there will be four students. Now I know things don’t always work out this way, but ideally they would.
Jigsaw Method Mistake #3
Not Assessing Students on ALL Information
This is the mistake that can have the biggest impact on student learning outcomes. So many times I have observed teachers who beautifully execute the Jigsaw Method until it comes time for assessment.
It is a mistake to assess students based on their expert group presentation. You may want this to be part of their final grade, but it shouldn’t be the whole thing.
The reason for this is you want to assess every student on ALL of the information, not just the chunk they are responsible for sharing with the class.
A quality Jigsaw Method assessment will allow students to show you they not only took in the information they were responsible for sharing, but also the information from all the groups’ presentations.
The Jigsaw Method Done Right
When you avoid these mistakes, the Jigsaw Method is one of the most powerful collaborative learning experiences you can have. With a little planning, thoughtful grouping, and an assessment that shows students’ knowledge of all the information you will be a success!
Ready for the Easy Button?
I believe this strategy is so powerful I want to bring it to more classrooms and make it easier for you! That is why I have created a series of pre-planned Jigsaws ready for implementation. Each set includes:
- Pre-chunked reading passages full of information
- Ideas to inspire student presentations
- Note taking sheets in multiple formats
- Assessments to test students’ learning