Using the Jigsaw Strategy on Google Slides & Zoom

By: Matt Rhoads, Ed.D

Dr. Matt Rhoads is a Tech and Instructional Leader and Innovator with hands in Adult Ed, K-12, and Higher Education. He is the author of several books and is the host of Navigating Education – The Podcast.

Jigsaw Strategy – What is it?

Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that has many uses as an instructional strategy. It involves taking a task and dividing it up into small chunks so students can interact and work together in a collaborative manner to learn. Then, after the task is completed, the entire class can come together and discuss it or complete a subsequence task, assignment, or activity where everyone has background knowledge. It can be utilized in a wide variety of ways as listed below and can be used with a number of EdTech tools.

Photo by Ann H on

Goal: In this post, you will learn how to implement this strategy within your instruction using Google Slides, NewsELA/Readworks, and Zoom. 

Example Video: See the Strategy in Action – Click here to see Jigsaw in Action

Instructional Uses of Jigsaw as an Instructional Strategy

  1. Student Engagement and Collaboration
  2. Building Reading Comprehension (i.e., annotation, paraphrasing, & summarizing)
  3. Differentiated Instruction & Personalized Learning
  4. Project-Based Learning

Jigsaw Strategy for Reading Comprehension (i.e., Annotation, Paraphrase, and Summary)

Today, we will be using Jigsaw as a strategy to help with reading. Jigsaw Annotation is a strategy where a teacher can have students do a similar reading, speaking, and writing task but using two or more reading levels of the same text. This creates an opportunity to differentiate your instruction but keep the content and topic the same that students will discuss. It also is a good opportunity to have students read together and collaborate by annotating and paraphrasing what the text is stating. Then, having students discuss the text in their groups and then as a whole class. By doing this activity, students can build their comprehension and speaking skills.

How to Implement this Strategy and EdTech Integration

Using Readworks or NewsELA and Google Slideshow, an article from Readworks and NewsELA can be broken down into two or more slides where a portion or the entire text from the article or story can be copied and pasted into the slideshow. Then, a set of slides is dedicated towards one reading level of a specific text and another set is dedicated towards another reading level of the same text. Sets of slides can be numbered one, two, or three so students are eventually assigned those slides to read and annotate with a group. Usually, we suggest having three levels of the same text is great to start. 

Once the slides are created, make a copy of the slides and set the link share to be โ€œeveryone with the link can edit.โ€ You have two choices of where you would like to distribute the slides for the activity. The protocols of how this can be done will be discussed in a moment. You can either place the link to the slides as a Canvas assignment or copy and paste it directly into the Zoom chat box for students to click on. Either way works. Ultimately, it depends on what you and your students are comfortable with. 

EdTech Tools Needed

  • Google Slides
  • NewsELA/Readworks
  • Zoom
  • Canvas (Optional)

Steps to Implement Jigsaw Using Google Slides & Zoom

  1. Step 1. Log into NewsELA or Readworks and find an article. 
  2. Step 2. Determine which article you want to use and then break it down into two to three different reading levels. 
  3. Step 3. Open up Google Slides. Create two to three sides, which will make up the number of slides needed for the article. This is about 10 to 12 Google Slides when it is all said and done. 

See Steps 1-3: Video NewsELA / Readworks

  1. Step 4. As discussed above, ensure you have opened up a 10-12 Google Slides presentation. 
  2. Step 5. On the first slide, always have the title of the article. 
  3. Step 6. On the second slide, divide the slides into two to three groups. Each group is represented by a number, which represents the reading level of the article you choose. 
  4. Step 7. Then, on the slides, copy and paste the article onto two to three slides (based on the length of the article). Do this for at least two to three different reading levels. Altogether, this will be 10 to 12 slides in length. 
  5. Step 8. Last, be sure to click on the far upper right-hand side of the slide and click on โ€œshare.โ€ To distribute the slides on Canvas or Zoom, it must be shared as an editable link for โ€œanyone with the link.โ€ This allows once a student access the slideshow, they can go to their assignment slides and edit that page. 

See Steps 4-8: Video Google Slides

  1. Step 9. Once ready to share, share the editable link with your students in the Zoom chat. 
  2. Step 10. After students have clicked on the link, model to students the directions of the task. You may want to model how you do it for about 3-5 minutes as an appropriate scaffold. 
  3. Step 11. Then, divide students into groups and create breakout rooms. They will then begin the jigsaw task youโ€™ve asked them to complete. 
  4. Step 12. Provide your students with a time frame of the task completion and possibly a follow-up task thereafter.  

See Steps 9-12: Video Illustrating Jigsaw in Action Using Zoom

After follow steps 1-12, you will have implemented the Jigsaw strategy in your classroom. Let us know in the comments how it went. Additionally, see below for more information regarding the strategy.

For more information about the Jigsaw Strategy, check out the following resources.

Published by Matthew Rhoads, Ed.D.

Innovator, EdTech Trainer and Leader, University Lecturer & Teacher Candidate Supervisor, Consultant, Author, and Podcaster

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