U1 Day 1-2: PD Discussion Topic

I have the opportunity for a flexible arrangement in my classroom setting. I have 30 computers available for 1:1 access arranged around the perimeter of the lab with plain table in the center which can be move to accommodate a wide variety of group arrangements and table-top activities. This flexible and unstructured physical arrangement facilitates a more open and comfortable environment which in turn fosters a more open and risk-free collaborative environment.

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I’ll be pretty standard: Think-Pair-Share: Ask students how many computers are in the room and have them write their estimates with notation (32 - smartphone, the desktop, etc…) Pair-share. Paris will share out. We’ll write a few estimates. Then we’ll go to “What is a computer?” “What is computing?”

I plan to facilitate discussion during this lesson by having the students work in groups (pods) in order to determine what is or is not a computer. I will have them first do this individually, then, using what they came up with, create a spectrum for Computer vs Non-computer together as a group. They can then do a gallery walk. More of a sliding groups technique.

I plan to make use of think-pair share to make sure that every student in the class has a chance to share their ideas, even if not part of the full class share out.

I plan on using computers to engender greater participation and equity.

I will break my 30 student classroom into 6 small groups of 5. I will then roam around each group listening to the main discussion and then contribute a question or two that the group might not thought about. As I finish with the last group, I will have each of them present their take of the discussion, then I will break them up into two groups and create a competition between the groups about the discussion topic.

Thank you so much for this resource. I’ve already shared this with other teachers at my school for using in class discussions! Thanks so much!

I thought I might make this a game of sorts. I’d split the class into teams for 4 - 6 and provide each with cards or sticky notes that list items that are and are not considered computers on them. Teams would then place the cards somewhere in a Venn Diagram (left circle is “YES it is a computer”, right circle is “NO it is not a computer” and the overlapping area is for the “MAYBE” category where they aren’t sure if it is or not). After students have had a chance to place the cards, the results of the teams would then be compared and discussions would develop in defending or opposing selections.


My class will spend the first day orienting themselves to the class but also be given time to interact with each other in several ways, culminating in a problem solving activity, like the spaghetti marshmallow challenge or something similar. I love the idea of splitting the class into two groups, those discussing and those observing the discussion so they can share their observations with the class about the dynamics of the conversations.

In my art classes I emphasize the importance of critique and always dedicate a portion of time discussing what constructive criticism and what it looks like. Students often generate honest and insightful ideas that become the norms for our subsequent discussion. I agree with the article that the physical space needs to be considered, as well as my role as a facilitator that allows students the time and transitions to take ownership of the discussion.

I plan to apply your ideas of having the students (high school) come up with discussion ground rules the first day. I usually ask for one or two teachers assistants to help me with the lesson. I agree that before we can begin to teach, this activity will show the care an respect we have for the kids.

I will report back to see how it worked out.

Thank you for sharing

To begin the school year with my students, my plan is to have them become a community of four (4) and have them respond to the question “What is a computer?” individually and then have them share with their response(s) with their (classmate next to them) neighbor and community. After this I will have them share out to the whole class.

Students will be explore the topic through prompt questions and feedback. What has worked for me are blogs. Students are able to share their ideas and thoughts online. Students also get to to express their thoughts more freely when are online.

The key factor for classroom discussion is creating a safe environment where everyone feels that their opinions will be respected.

I will have my distance education students reply to this question using a discussion thread that they can read after they post their response.

By having students discuss things in a group and sharing with the class.

As per the article, I use Think-Pair-Share and then sliding groups to foster class discussion. I was also reminded of the Fishbowl protocol (here called Feedback Discussions). I used this discussion technique regularly as an English teacher, and now I’m going to apply it to the teaching of ECS. I recall the kids asking when we were going to “play” fishbowl again. They saw it more as a game than a discussion technique.

I plan to start with sliding groups.

I plan on using the room next to me. I teach in a computer lab. And there is not a lot of room to move around in there (to form groups).

The room next to me is empty. So I plan on setting up table groups of 4. We will then use this room for discussions. I think my current plan is to just use different signs on the door to indicate what room we are meeting in (on a given day).

On day 1 we will also set up our classroom norms for discussions.

I will start by having the students answer the journal prompt “List all of the computers you have seen in the last 24 hours (Not counting the desktops in your classroom.)” I will then have the students take turns going to the whiteboard in the front of the room to add items to our classroom list. We will then discuss whether everything listed is a computer, and go over the basic definition of a computer, emphasizing input, process, and output.

I’m fortunate that I have a large classroom/computer lab with computers around the edge facing the wall, with enough room in the middle to have tables in a “U” shape facing a Promethean board and whiteboard, allowing for large group discussions where everyone can see each other. And since there are several tables, the room can easily be reconfigured for small group activities.