How Showdown Works:
1. Students sit in groups of four. Each group member has a number: 1, 2, 3, or 4. Student number 3 is designated Showdown Captain.
2. Students design a team handshake or other sign -- for example, an “accordion clap” that combines the motions of clapping with those of pretending to play an accordion (the two hands never actually meet).
3. Each student has a paper and pen. The teacher asks a question; students each write their response without consulting the others in the group. Each student therefore has an opportunity to participate and is overtly active while writing.
4. When all pens in a group are down, the Showdown Captain says, “Showdown!”
5. Beginning with the person to the captain’s right, each student reads her or his response (demonstrating individual accountability). The group compares responses and tries to reach consensus. Overall, as one member of each group shares his or her response, 25 percent of the class is speaking simultaneously.
6. If the group reaches consensus, the students celebrate by doing the group sign. Group members support each other by providing immediate feedback on each student’s response. Positive interdependence is needed, because the group does not celebrate until all agree.
7. The class comes together as a whole to discuss responses. Each group has a valuable contribution to make.
8. The role of Showdown Captain rotates for the next question. Everyone gets to play a role in the group.