I will have to move chairs around in my room so that students can see each other. The bulky desks, computer monitors and 6 rows all facing the front do not facilitate good discussions.
I’ll start by asking the students to share individual definitions of a computer. I’ll have a scribe jot down class responses using the SmartBoard so we can see what others are thinking. Once we have generated several definitions, I’ll ask students to identify some computers in the room based on the definitions we have recorded.
Another strategy would be to pose the same question in a format where students record their responses as small groups (2-4) then have a spokesperson for each group share with the class. We can listen for commanalities.
Once discussion is done, I can reveal 5-7 items and let the students decide based upon their generated definitions if those items are computers. The video can be shown after the group discussion ends, and once the video is over we can discuss any differences or changes we’d like to make.
Before the students arrive I plan to have the class set up with small round tables with 4 chairs at each one. I thought about doing an icebreaker with students, but I have students in grades 9-12. In previous years the 9th graders seem to become real shy and not really want to talk about themselves right away. I think I will stick to the topic of computers and have students write their ideas down individually first. Using the Sliding Discussion format I plan to ask questions that start very simple and challenge those answers to deepen the level of thinking as students share ideas with each other.
I like the idea to have the students introduce themselves and answer the question, "when I am in a small group discussion, I usually…It is a bit of a getting to know you type exercise.
I too feel that a safe environment for everyone to be heard and be respected for their thoughts are an important for them to learn. The issue that I might have is how much time should be spent on students to respond when class time can range from 49 to 55 minutes a period.
I intend to facilitate discussion by discussing classroom community and discussion guidelines at the very beginning of the school year. I will encourage my students all to speak and will call on those who may seem uncomfortable volunteering. I will also provide a think pair share strategy that allows students to share and discuss in a variety of formats. Later on in the year I will also facilitate discussion through Schoology discussion boards.
I plan to have my students practice having productive discussions (following guidelines, as other posters have mentioned) by splitting the class in half and having half at a time have a discussion while the other half sits in an outer circle and observes, taking notes on how well the norms are being followed and whether everyone is participating.
I am going to assign a journal assignment to list the computers in the room then in saqmll groups have them shair. I will then have them journal the computers found at home. They will then in small groups share and make a list of all the computers found at home and in class.
I find that it is worth my time a effort to work on building a safe space for the students to feel comfortable to have open discussions. We are trained in Kagan strategies at my school and I do class building strategies with them to help with this. These are fun non-academic activities that help build community in my classroom. With this in place having discussions where the students share opinions and thoughts become much easier.
I really liked the post-it example provided at the training in Chicago. It was very engaging for the classroom and made students think about their answers about what a Computer truly was.
After the post-its and discussion, I had the students research the definition as it has changed over the years. This brought up some neat questions and we had a good time with it.
This is a great write-up. Thanks.
I plan on having the students write in their journals first and then partner share their answers. Sometimes I will then have them share with the whole class or share with small group depending on the activity. I like the idea of starting with the journal because it gives all students an opportunity to get their thoughts in order before being expected to share with others.
Present the question (problem), have students think about it for a couple of minutes, five minutes or so for free association in their journals (or on paper), partner/table discussion for two or three minutes then one representative from each group share with the class. Teacher or designated facilitator will write ‘answers’ on board or type in document projected on board or wall.
One technique that I use for facilitating discussion is to bring in a resource that topically has nothing to do with the discussion, but conceptually fits well for it and try to have the students relate to it at the end. For example, if I were to talking about the effects of the Protestant Reformation, I might bring up the idea of a pizza. Topically is has nothing to do with the Protestantism, but in terms of the various denominations that spawned after the Ref. it fits well, because everyone has their favorite flavor.
I plan on having the students work in small groups first to share their thoughts so they don’t feel overwhelmed having to share with the entire class right off the bat.
One technique we use a lot in our school is a write-around. Students basically converse on paper (or computer). I might use this to start our discussion or conclude our discussion.
My class is currently set-up in single rows. Because of the size of the desk it makes it hard to arrange into groups. I would love to get smaller tables in class. But I will establish a set of norms for participating in group discussions. It helps if students know what is expected of them. I also like the idea of letting shyer students write responses instead of having to speak.
My plan is to ask questions to each 3-4 person group based on the objective, and have a group response, and eventually move to individual questioning. This will build team, bring out the strength of the shy over time.
I plan on using the jigsaw technique to create subject matter experts at the start of the discussion.