U1 Day 1-2: PD Discussion Topic


I plan on placing students in groups that will give each student equal opportunities to participate. Hopefully this will help promote a discussion that all students will feel comfortable to participate.


Discussions tend to be difficult the first few days of school. So I plan to have a silent discussion where students will write their responses in their journals and then pass it to another member of their group. The other member will respond to the discussion. This will happen two more times until all the students in their group have read each of their responses and reply. Then I will ask for volunteers to share one of their group members responses.


After having the students complete an icebreaker activity I will have the students pair up using their elbow partners. They will ask their partner their name, age, and favorite food. Then each pair introduces their partner to the class. After this is done, the students will engage in classbuilding and teambuilding activities. Classbuilding activities encourages the students to be comfortable with each other so that they will have more productive and enlightening discussions. Teambuilding activities encourages students to be comfortable within the group so that they can help and support each other in a collaborative learning environment.


Discussions are difficult at the beginning of the school year. I plan to concentrate on making my classroom a safe environment where all students will feel comfortable sharing thoughts and ideas. We can look up ways to have productive discussions and make a poster to hang at the front of the room as our “norms”


One technique that has worked for me is posing the question as a bell ringer in the beginning of class.


I’m thinking of using a journal prompt “what is a computer?”, then students will share with an elbow partner, and share with another pair. Then have someone share what the group of 4 students. Pose another question, “How many computers are there in this room?”


I want to try and have students answer with their partners points, instead of their own. This can hold students accountable to listening to what others are saying.


I like to give examples of my own personal experience to set the tone so that others will be willing to share their own examples as well. They especially have liked the unexpected experiences


During this section, I read the entire “Facilitating Effective Group Discussions” article from Brown University. The article discusses numerous techniques for initiating and spurring on group discussion in the classroom. I’m planning on using these techniques for both my courses this year, not just ECS.


I will have students answer question in their journal first then share with a partner. Then I will organize the students into groups and they will categorize what they think is definitely a computer, not a computer, and not sure I will have each group tell the class one item, where they placed it and their rationale. At this point I will let them decide who in the group will speak, but later on I may select students to share.


I like to use peer / pairs or small groups of up to 4 so students can have conversations among themselves first. I then have them put their responses on white boards and share out. This eliminates any one student from feeling like they are put on the spot and they eventually get more comfortable speaking and sharing ideas with others.


There are lots of ways to facilitate group discussion:
-Twitter classroom chat
-Google Classroom Question
-Pair share
-Rotate groups based on birthday months, height

The hope is to get Ss into groups of 4 to facilitate discussion and to minimize students being left out.


I plan on using Think-Ink-Pair-Share to facilitate discussion. This way students have time to think first, then write down their thoughts, talk with a partner, then share out at as a group to create a class discussion. This has worked well for me in the past because students get plenty of time to gather and record their thoughts before sharing. And if they are uncomfortable with sharing their own thinking, they have the option of sharing the thinking of someone else in their group from their discussion.


I plan to use small groups as well to get discussions started. I would like everyone to have a chance to participate and that is best done in small groups. One key factor is getting students comfortable with each other sharing their ideas and comments. They need to know each other a little to feel more safe in a discussion environment. I actually plan to have a short discussion 1st day on what their favorite movie is that they watched this summer before I set them to the task of what is a computer. Hopefully they can start making connections with each other and begin to understand one another.


Giving all participants a voice and setting the stage for welcoming a variety of opinions and ideas should be a great way to begin shaping a classroom environment that is “safe” for a variety of deep exploration and learning.


I like to let a couple students volunteer to get the discussion started. Then, I use a “random picker” to choose a few more students to share their ideas. This has worked well for me in the past.


Dividing into small groups to initiate discussion has worked well on getting all to participate. Asking groups to consider a question, including thinking of possible pros and cons of their own responses, is helpful. This encourages critique of their own ideas before putting everything in front of the entire group. Such a format shows that it’s o.k. to challenge and o.k. to be challenged. Similarly, there’s a bit of anonymity that can get the ball rolling more comfortably for some of the shy ones by allowing individuals or groups to jot ideas onto post-it notes and then post those on a common board.


I’m looking forward to using this as one of our first journal entries - Brainstorm alone, then small groups 3-4 to compare answers and determine a classification system. Groups then present to the class - hang up posters created on the wall for the world to enjoy!


I will first have the students complete the lesson on ground rules for discussion from www.tolerance.org. This will be a good way to start the class off for discussions and presentations in this class this year.


I plan on using groups to facilitate discussion. Students will be separated into groups of 3-4 and will not always be with the same group. I normally ask for multiple answers from each group to allow everyone a chance to contribute. I have had students write down on a white-board their answers, post-its, and verbally give their answers. By alternating groups, this has given students a chance to work with others they normally wouldn’t work with.