Jigsaw Reading Using Newsela with Elementary Students

Have students become experts in one article in a text set and then share their learnings with their peers
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Students Engaging in a Jigsaw Discussion

About This Strategy

The Jigsaw strategy allows all readers to become experts on a text in a Newsela Text Set and then teach and learn from others in cooperative groups. In this strategy, each student is assigned a different article to explore within the same Text Set. While they are reading, students use the Newsela Annotations feature to highlight important information that they would like to share with their classmates. After reading, students report on their learnings and findings to a small group of their classmates.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Determine the purpose of the Jigsaw Reading activity. In this case, students will interact with one another in order to exchange factual information about a common topic (e.g., What is Autism Awareness Week? What is a black hole? What makes Christopher Columbus a hero or a villain?)

  2. Newsela article selection:

    • Option 1: Create a Newsela Text Set for students to select articles from. The Text Set should include articles on a variety of topics relevant to the content taught and/or of high student interest. You may consider creating a Text Set containing a mix of primary and secondary sources on any given topic (perfect for Document Based Questions). Ensure that you have at least one article per student in a group within the Text Set. So, for example if students are in groups of five, be sure that there are at least five articles in the selected Text Set for students to read.
    • Option 2: Explore the existing wide variety of Newsela Text Sets by topic. Select a set (or more) that reflects your students' interests or the current content discussed in class. Ensure that you have at least one article per student within the Text Set. So, for example if students are in groups of five, be sure that there are at least five articles in the selected Text Set for students to read.
    • Refer to the examples of Newsela Text Sets for each purpose located in the Recommended Newsela Text or Text Sets section below.
  3.  Make a determination regarding the grouping of students. Each group should have at least three members, but should not exceed six. Locate the Cooperative Learning Chart in the resource section below, if needed, to use as a reference.

  4.  Consider creating an organizational tool such as a chart (handwritten or digital) to track which articles within each Text Set have been assigned to which students. Refer to the example of an Article Assignment Chart in the resource section below.

  5.  Locate and make copies (or enable digital access to) the Article Analysis Template to be used by students during reading. Refer to the example in the resource section below.  

Student Preparation:

  1. Explain the purpose of the task to students and how it relates to the daily objective or learning target.

  2. Model for students how to access Text Sets and/or separate articles on Newsela. Model for students how to use Newsela features like Annotations.

  3. Using teacher discretion, group students accordingly and assign the selected articles within each Text Set. Consider letting students select the articles.

  4. Have students meet with their groups to determine which article each group member will read within the assigned text set. Complete the Article Assignment Chart for organizational purposes.

  5. Provide students with the Article Analysis - Guiding Questions Template to be used during reading.

  6. Review the task, timeline, expectations, and evaluative tools.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Assign the Newsela article or Text Set and decide whether to provide it at the Newsela Recommended reading level for each student or adjust the reading level to a particular grade for all students.

  2. Have students read and annotate the Newsela articles of their choice. One example of a color coded annotation system (Non-Pro/Pro Users):

    • YELLOW: Highlight/Explain the central idea of the article

    • GREEN: Highlight/Describe interesting points of the article

    • BLUE: Highlight/List and explain any new vocabulary words used in the article that are crucial to the understanding of the article

    • RED: Highlight/Write what you learned from examining the article

  3. Have students complete the Article Analysis - Guiding Questions Template as they read the assigned article. Refer to the example of the completed chart included in the resource section below.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Ask students to return to their groups with the completed Article Analysis Templates.

  2. If needed, assign numbers to students to facilitate the exchange of ideas in an assigned order. To ensure equity of voice, consider timing students using either a digital clock visible to all or providing each group with a timer.

  3. Explain to students that they will share their findings using the guiding questions from the Article Analysis template as their discussion starters. Consider modeling one share out, if needed.

  4. Ask students to jot down 1-2 facts they learned about the topic of the Text Set during the Jigsaw Reading activity using an Exit Ticket.  

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

Black holes

  • Essential Question: What makes black holes intriguing?
  • Grade Level: 3-6
  • Content Area: Science, Social Studies

Animal Adaptations

  • Essential Question: How do animal adaptations help them survive?
  • Grade Level: 3-6
  • Content Area: Science, Social Studies

Branches of Government

  • Essential Question: Why is it important for all branches of the government to have an equal role?
  • Grade Level: 3-6
  • Content Area: Social Studies

MAX6: Endangered Species

  • Essential Question: What preventive measures can we put in place immediately to ensure that no additional animal species become endangered or extinct?
  • Grade Level: 3-6
  • Content Area: Science, Social Studies

Digital Jigsaw Discussions

Consider Jigsaw Reading activity in a digital form using Flipgrid.

Implementation Steps:

  1. Once students complete their Article Analysis Templates, have them video record a brief summary of everything they learned about the assigned topic using Newsela article as a resource.

  2. When finished, asked them to view at least 2-3 Flipgrid recordings of their peers.

  3. Instead of jotting down the new information using the written Jigsaw Reading Exit Ticket, have them record a response where they share what they learned from each classmate.

  4. Consult the Educator's Guide to Flipgrid second edition by Sean Fahey and Karly Moura to learn more.