The Group Discussion Guide, developed in both English and Spanish (Translated Spanish version included) designed to foster and enhance students’ abilities to comprehend and analyze material through critical thinking skills as well as speaking/presentational skills specified within Common Core objectives, can be used through a ‘teacher directed’ or through a ‘student directed’, Socratic circle approach, where students develop questions and guide the discussion. The guide, applicable for use from grades 4-12, can be used to promote reading and speaking skills in English, Spanish, ESL, History, Social Studies and/or Science classes and is presented in both Spanish and in English.
The teacher, furthermore, can use the various components of the guide to encourage students to share ideas, create questions, and to provide formats for discussion. After dividing students into two separate groups, the process can begin where students develop questions for the class during the reading process or as a post-reading activity. Once students have developed 3 questions, selected members present their questions to members of ‘Group Leaders’ seated in the inside circle. ‘Group Recorders’ seated in the outside circle take notes as they observe. The roles are then reversed, having Group Discussion Leaders exchanging seats with Group Recorders, asking their questions from the same or following pages. Through students’ questions and answers, the discussion format provides an avenue through which teachers can gradually introduce and reinforce essential themes, character traits and subtopics that students can incorporate into a written essay.
Finally, group post-reading activities are suggested as students continue to reinforce their knowledge of vocabulary and search for supporting evidence of key concepts. Vocabulary and reading guides are provided for the extended group activities. Within the context of the post-discussion activities, students can review material and work together anticipating and answering test questions. Teachers can use these sessions as opportunities to guide students’ attention toward key concepts.