Pick about five related topics or concepts to determine your students’ background knowledge. Write each topic on one piece of flip chart paper (at the top). Number the topics (1 through 5) and post them in order around the room.
Assign each student a number from one to five, then have all students move to the paper labeled with their assigned number. Give each group a different-colored marker to record their information.
Give the groups about one minute to write on the flip chart paper everything they know or have learned about the topic. I they are not sure about their information, they can write a “?” by it.
After one minute, the groups move to the topic with the next higher number (group 1 goes to topic 2, etc. and group 5 goes to topic 1). At the next topic, they read what the other groups have written, make corrections or additions, and add any new information they know. As they move to each station, you might want to add a little more time for reading the preceding entries. All writing they do should be with their original colored marker (e.g., all of the group 1’s entries on the five topics are in red).
Continue this process until each group is back to its original number. After students have read what the other groups added to that topic, they move back to their seats, reading what has been added after their entry to each of the other four topics.
Have students reflect on what they have learned. Do they have questions of the other groups? Do they see connections between the topics? What else would they like to know? How did this strategy help them determine what they knew and did not know about the topic?
Because the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan…
No one could live there until the radiation left.
Many Japanese people got a disease.
Lots of people were killed from the explosion
Hiroshima was destroyed.
It ended the war.
7. Concentric Circle Discussion This works well for reviewing content in whole-class groups or in groups of six or more. Ask each student to prepare an index card. On each index card, he or she reviews or explains a key concept. Students stand facing each other in two concentric circles.
Each student in the inside circle pairs with a student in the outside circle.
Both students use their cards to explain the concept to one another. (give students a time limit of one to two minutes per person.)
The partners ask questions to make sure they understand the information.
After completing both explanations, the two students trade cards. The outside circle moves clockwise one person, and each student is now paired with a new partner.
Students must now explain the information described on the new card to a new partner. The process is repeated and students again get a new partner.
With small groups, the conversation can continue until students get their original card back.
8. Concept Mapping
On the board, write a word or concept that relates to the topic about which you want your students to learn.
Open the discussion with a brainstorming sessions in which students discuss all the information they know or think they know about the topic. Write the brainstormed information on the overhead. Follow the strategy outlined for K-W-L: brainstorm what they know and want to know; then categorize the information into a pre-reading map.
Have student read and add information to the pre-reading map.
Have students use their maps to write a summary about what they have learned.
Teach and model each role with the whole class before using the roles in small group discussions. Students need to feel comfortable with all the roles you plan to use before they try them on their own in their discussion groups.
First, teach the role of Discussion Director to everyone. The Discussion Director develops four or five open-ended questions over the reading as a way to get the discussion going. In some cases, the Discussion Director might be responsible for engaging his or her group in a discussion of teacher-developed questions.
Model how to develop questions from the reading. Remind students about QARs and authentic questions.
Model how to use questions in small-group discussion. Bring four students to the front of the class and have each in turn ask one question to the rest of the group. When the discussion has run its logical course, divide the remainder of the class into groups of four and have them use their own questions to conduct discussions.
Follow a similar procedure for introducing the other roles you plan to use. Once students feel comfortable with roles you have selected, they are ready to apply them within their groups during or after reading their assignment.
Ask students how their discussion went.
Did everyone participate?
Was everyone prepared?
Were you willing to share tentative ideas?
Did you ask questions of one another?
Did you give reasons for your opinions?
Were you able to make connections with the world, with other texts, with yourself?
You will meet at least twice a week in your discussion groups. Each of you will have a specific role in your group. Everyone will get a chance to work in each role at least once. If you don’t start in the role you want, be patient – you will get your chance.
Roles: There are five roles for this activity (five students in a group). You will get a chance for each role at least once. The roles are numbered (1-5). Draw numbers to determine your initial roles.
Discussion Director: Lead the group in discussion of questions either assigned by the teacher or developed by the students in your group. Take notes during the meeting, and make sure that every group member participates in the discussion.
Quote Finder: Find important and memorable sections and/or quotes to read out loud to the group. Write down the important passage and the reasons why the passages important, or mark important passages with sticky notes along with notes about why the passage is important.
Illustrator: Provide graphic or artistic response to the text through drawings, pictures, or political cartoons. Explain the graphic to the group.
Summarizer: Prepare a brief, written summary (at least one full paragraph) of the assigned reading. Present the summary to your group for revision.
Vocabulary Expert: Find and share complicated or important words. Include at least 5 words from the reading and their definitions. Explain how words were used in the test.
The progression of role assignments for succeeding discussions will be as follows: (1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, 4 to 5, 5 to 1)
Grading: You will turn in the work for each role. Every assignment is worth 10 points. I will be checking mainly for completion, but I will deduct points for lack of effort.
Summary___1._Record'>11. Cornell Note-taking System
Cue Column Summary
1. Record: During the lecture, use the note taking column to record the lecture using telegraphic sentences.
2. Questions: As soon after class as possible, formulate questions based on the notes in the right-hand column. Writing questions helps to clarify meanings, reveal relationships, establish continuity, and strengthen memory. Also, the writing of questions sets up a perfect stage for exam-studying later.
3. Recite: Cover the note taking column with a sheet of paper.
Then, looking at the questions or cue-words in the question and cue column only, say aloud, in your own words, the answers to the questions, facts, or ideas indicated by the cue-words.
4. Reflect: Reflect on the material by asking yourself questions, for
example: “What’s the significance of these facts? What principle are
they based on? How can I apply them? How do they fit in with what
I already know? What’s beyond them?
5. Review: Spend at least ten minutes every week reviewing all
After class, use this space at the bottom of each page to summarize the notes on that page.
12. Discussion Web Model as a whole class discussion. Make a transparency of the Discussion Web organizer. Begin with a controversial and familiar topic, one that you know will generate some “heat”.
Write the question in the middle of the grid. Challenge students to take sides against their personal views.
Develop conclusions on both sides.
Then ask students to work in pairs and decide which conclusion seems more valid. Have each pair vote and come to a class consensus.
Conclude with a discussion about the strategy. “How did this strategy help you to analyze both sides of an issue? Were you able to take a more active role in the discussion? Did it help you organize your discussion?”