Saturday, October 11, 2014

Silent Discussion

Finally, a long weekend and time to blog! I'm full of activities I want to write about. The first, called "Silent Discussion", is an activity I discovered while walking through the hallways of my school. Posted on the walls outside of a history classroom, I saw large sheets of paper on with a question in the center around which were all sorts of student responses and commentaries. Thinking this would be a great way to generate responses to some of the higher-level thinking questions in my class, I asked how it worked. Below are the instructions:

  • First, put students in groups of three or four (no more than four and no fewer than three) and give them a large sheet of paper and markers. 
  • Give students a question that they will write in the middle of the paper. 
  • Explain that they will be silently discussing, in writing, their thoughts on this particular question.
  • Instruct students to respond to the questions themselves and comment on at least two of their partners' responses. 

I love this activity because it gets students producing in the target language (which is not as important for me in lower level classes but anyone who observes you loves to see it) and it provides an opportunity for students to pick up writing skills from their peers. Below are some of the responses I got to one of the great questions in the Esperanza teaching guide (not perfect but a good start!):

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