Question Detail

How do I improve the quality of student collaborative discussions?

Dec 14, 2015 5:18pm

  • English Language Arts
  • 11
  • Assessment


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    • Jan 16, 2016 11:40am

      I teach third grade at a STEM school. A good portion of our day is collaborative. As mentioned in other comments, setting the foundation is so important. But beyond that, I try to instill independence during those collaborative times. To do that, one of the jobs that they assign each other is "coach." They take an iPad and take video of the discussion. Then, I review the video with them and help them sort through what the next steps would be for a more effective conversation. By the middle of the year, they don't need as much guidance on how to have an effective conversation. I hope that helps! I also like the comment about writing questions. I write questions with different layers of depth of knowledge for reading groups, but didn't think to do it for their discussions.

      • Dec 14, 2015 8:33pm

        I would suggest to design effective questions to direct the collaborative discussion & keep intervening and pitching in to keep them on the track..... Moreover, keep adding some innovative strategies and digital gadgets for engaging students.

        • Dec 15, 2015 7:37am

          just to piggy back on the designing of effective questions like nausheen said but how about making them accountable for the discussion? Could you use exit slips and incorporate that into the discussion? Just a thought.

          • Dec 16, 2015 6:03am

            And like Tom says, that constant circulation serves as a catalyst. Besides keeping students on task, what worked for me when students work in groups is going around with a clipboard collecting insightful things students have said and I bring it up for a whole-class discussion. It can be a question or an observation. If you do a little digging here in the website, search the keyword "wingman" and you will see another strategy in terms of a role of a student in a collaborative group. What I would like to do in the future since digital cameras are so handy is to take pictures of student work and show that for class discussion. It might even serve as part of a sample question on some test or assessment.

            • Dec 18, 2015 11:56am

              I think this video from the Teaching Channel is a wonderful example of framing collaborative conversations as well: