For my class I want to help promote an environment were students feel comfortable with one another and have and understanding of what is necessary for a productive discussion. I have lead talking circles in my previous classes where students discuss a topic of interest. These are usually simple questions such as "what is your favorite dessert," which each student will have an opportunity to answer. Sometimes these topics can be more meaningful to the content and serves as a segue into instruction. At the very least this can serve as an ice breaker to get students more comfortable with discussing with one another.
For this lesson I do want to include a discussion on criteria for classroom discussion. I will allow students to list these in their journals, share in small groups, and then we will discuss these as a class. During this discussion I will create a thinking map while students provide their responses. This can be saved and displayed in the classroom for future reference. This will also model one of the techniques of discussion that will be used throughout the course, including during this lesson.
When we discuss the question of "What is a Computer," students will be allowed to reflect on this question in their journals, discuss in groups of three or four, and we will create a class list during a whole class discussion. While in their groups students will create their own list on a poster that will be posted in the classroom. This will lead into a discussion of how to classify different categories of computers. Hopefully there will be a good variety of what are considered computers and if needed I will offer my own input. I understand that this discussion might be difficult for some students to engage in so I will constantly reinforce the idea that there is no correct answer and that everyone's input is valid.