Different cultures have different expectations as to what is considered appropriate and valuable in a discussion participant. Hence, it is useful to clarify what these attributes are in English-speaking countries, like the United States, and to grade students accordingly. I like to display the rubric in this file, write the students' names across the top of it, and visibly check off one box every time a student participates. Since there are 10 criteria, the students can easily figure out what their grades are by multiplying the number of checks they've received by ten. Quickly, they will realize that merely tossing in a few comments does not yield a decent grade. They will then start addressing some of the other attributes, and the quality of their discussions and cooperative behavior will significantly improve. Any single contribution by a participant may lend itself to giving checks in several boxes, but restrict yourself to selecting only one box, so participants will have to make many contributions. Finding a topic that students will feel compelled to express themselves on is often difficult, so I’ve included an example of a discussion topic that I’ve had a lot of success with. The students have to reach an agreement on who of several very deserving people should receive a “Best Citizen Award.” To reach a decision, the students need to consider what really makes someone a hero, and often the discussion gets so heated that the students don’t want to stop.