Are you tired of planning discussions where only part of the students participate? Use these questions to help generate thoughtful discussion and get even your quietest kids to participate.
-Divide kids into groups.
-Print off questions for each group. OR, to save paper, just print off the master list of questions for each group. If you want to grade the silent discussion, make sure you print off a rubric for each group also.
-Allow each student to pick a question to respond to. then tell the students that they have about 5 minutes to write their response, using textual evidence to the prompt that they selected. After time has passed, direct students to pass their paper to someone else in their group.
-Students should now be reading a new prompt and also their peers’ response. They should, then, be either writing to agree or disagree with what their classmate has already written.
-Repeat this procedure until each student has seen each of the four questions that their group mates have selected.
-Once this is done, allow students to talk in their groups for 5 minutes to debrief their thoughts. Then, launch a full class discussion/debate using the questions as a guide. --Since kids have already done the brainstorming for the discussion, I usually get a better quality discussion at this stage of the lesson.
-If you want to grade this activity, have students put their initial question papers together and staple them. Then, it is easy to see the responses of the students and how well they participated throughout the activity.
To extend this activity:
If you want to extend this activity, have students select a prompt to respond to in a short piece of writing. A rubric is attached, but it is editable so that you can customize it for your needs.