U1 Day 1-2: PD Discussion Topic


I want to try the “nominal group discussion” technique (with cards). I think it’s a good way to get everyone involved, even the shy students.


Being a math teacher, the scariest part of teaching this class will be the discussions. I will create a safe environment by establishing a discussion protycol. I will try not to rush the discussions and get comfortable with gaps of silence. I think the best idea for my situation is to put the students into small groups where they can gain confidence, after journaling their idea individually, of course.


I plan to have my students sitting in groups of 4 and give students team roles to help promote each student to participate in the group discussions. And as a class I plan to start by having students feel comfortable and set norms.


I plan to use the sliding groups technique as I ask the students to count the number of computers in the room. We did this activity during our Phase 2 PD workshop. What seemed at first to be just a matter of counting turned into a lively discussion of whether or not we should include thermostats, smart phones, and human beings. This discussion opens the door to talking about embedded systems, smart devices, and human computers such as the Top Secret Rosies. The students have to really think about what a computer is and that there could be more than one definition,
During discussions, I want to limit the student-teacher-student-teacher ping-pong interaction and encourage students to reference and build on what other students have contributed.


I will probably implement the sliding groups discussion technique in order to facilitate discussion for this lesson and throughout the semester. In the past, introducing a topic that students are familiar with has helped with discussions. Students are more likely to share if they feel it is a topic that they know about or to which they can relate.

  1. Students respond individually in writing to prompt: How many computers are in this room?
  2. In groups of four, students share their responses.
  3. Groups then create a list of all the computers they can think of, writing one computer per post-it note.
  4. Groups then create their own categories for their computers, and group their post-its together on poster paper.
  5. Posters are hung on walls and groups rotate in gallery walk. One member of each group stays at his/her poster to explain it as each group rotates throughout the room.


In my classroom, I will have the students bring their chairs to the back and form a circle so that we are all listening and participating in the discussion without the distraction of the computers. We will establish ground rules collectively as a class so that the students have ownership. The best technique I have found and to keep asking the students questions to have them elaborate more in the discussion.


My school instruction is based on tenets and one of the biggest that students have trouble with is presentation. I teach incoming freshman and instead of class room rules I introduce classroom “values” just as the top businesses do in the business world. So being respectful and participation is addressed in the syllabus and class expectations on the first day.


I plan on having students come up with a set of norms for discussion sessions. In creating norms, students will all be on the same page and realize that they are the ones who drive the discussion and need to respect all opinions.


I know it seems overly simple, since it is already in the lesson plan, but I plan on opening this up by using the journal entry to get the discussion started. I have always found that once kids have had a chance to get some of their ideas down on paper, they are much more likely to participate in a group discussion.

I will use that as the first step in a think-pair-share activity. Once students have had a chance to think about what they consider a computer and write it down, I will then have the share it with their elbow partner. Once everyone has had a chance to get some validation from another student, I will then ask for people who would like to share their ideas with the whole class in order to start a class discussion.


Take the time to learn the students names and refer to the them as individuals. Allow students to assist answer each other questions with the teacher weighing the final input. Create a safe environment where students are comfortable enough to make mistakes and learn from each other.


I have used the Nominal Group Technique, but instead of using 3 x 5 cards, I use Sticky Notes.


I have used group projects and randomly assigned the group members. This has enabled students of different skills to share their knowledge and assist each other.


The Lab is an environment of trust where students are comfortable knowing that is OK to fail. This leads to informal discussions, sometimes with teacher prompts, but I try to let the discussion form it’s own identity. That identity is guided by expectations/thoughts posted in itsLearning.


I plan to have groups of students of 3. Each group will be given a question regarding a computer. They will create a list of items in different areas such as an office, a classroom, a kitchen, a bedroom, and others. Each group will share their list with the rest of a class.


A classic technique is think-pair-share.This gives introspective students a few minutes on their own, then effectively FORCES all students to speak by pairing them off, and finally opens up the discussion to the whole group, be it the whole classroom or the small group that students are working in for the moment.

It’s also useful that the discussion topic be written down, either as a handout for the students or on front of the board, to help defend against students’ tendancy to go off-topic.


I have Campfire Mondays. This is a whole class discussion on Mondays. We sit in a circle around a fake campfire, I bought one off of eBay that glows and blows fabric so it looks like an actual campfire, with the lights off and discuss the topic. Sometimes I just have the students share stories about what they did over the weekend. My main reason for coming up with Campfire Mondays was for the students to become more comfortable around their peers.


In the course, we’ve used todaysmeet.com to facilitate the discussion. Too, we’ve used a shared Google Doc in order that many groups/students can contribute at the same time.


I plan on using the Journal a great deal in order to begin the thought process of students. For the question “How many computers are in this room?” I plan to have the students journalize initially and then show the Youtube video. Multimedia is a great way to engage our students and draw out discussion.


I think for the first discussion I would like to have the students talk in small groups (3-4) for a few minutes and then ask for volunteers from each group to respond. Then I will ask each group to discuss some more now that they’ve seen what the other groups have said. Then we’ll have a second round of volunteer answers from each group.