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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Integrating Reading and Inquiry through Group work - Jigsaw Activity

This task is not a task I invented.  It is a tried and true jigsaw task learnt from my TESSOL diploma studies.

The reason I like it, is because it includes the 4 different modes of literacy:  Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.  I also like it because it promotes positive relationships in the class with students in mixed ability groups.  Another positive is that students are forced to become 'experts' in their own area so you generally get little behavioural issues or students relying on others for all the answers.

Because we now teach Maths for 2 hours in the mornings, I had to find a way to integrate literacy learning in the middle block.  I wondered how I might do this, and settled on trying to use inquiry as the context and using mixed ability grouping as a strategy.

First, I picked 5 texts - all based on hobbies:

  1. Just One Wheel (Year 4 : L2 May : 2015 : P2-11)
  2. The Man Who Makes Animals (Year 6 : Part 02 No. 4 : 1993 : Pgs 30-35)
  3. The GHB (Year 6 : Part 03 No. 02 : 2006 : 29-32)
  4. In Sync (Year 6 : Part 03 No. 02 : 2006 : 9-13)
  5. Half a Bit of Butterflies (Year 6 : Part 03 No. 1 : 2000 : Pgs 2-7)

Next I created this recording sheet with the key ideas along the top that I wanted students to think about as they were reading.

After that I asked students to choose their own groups of 5 - these become the 'home groups.'

In their home groups, students numbered themselves off 1-5.

I asked all the 1's to stand up (should be one person in each group)

They were given a recording sheet each and one text to read together.

This continued for numbers 2-5.

In number groups, students worked together to read the text and complete their boxes on the jigsaw sheet.

Students then returned to home groups to report back.

By the end of this session, all students should have a completed recording sheet - hence the name - jigsaw!

This could be done by hand or electronically, but I have found in the past, electronic versions lend themselves to cutting and pasting information rather than students listening to each other and taking notes.

The key lessons from this activity were:
  • Follow your passions
  • Hard work takes time
  • Hobbies can lead to careers
  • Hobbies can lead to new experiences
  • If you love it, do it
  • There is something for everyone
We are going to be pursuing our own hobbies and presenting information about our hobbies in week 10.  Watch this space!


  1. As always an interesting and helpful read Kyla. Thank you so much for taking the time to document the process and share your resources. This is a must read for teachers :)

    1. Thanks, Dorothy. It is an old strategy, but every time I remember to use it, I wonder why I don't do it all the time!

  2. We did a reading jigsaw today as well! It it such a great strategy to grow expertise through collaboration and really get the talk going. Thanks for sharing Kyla :)