Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Student Led Discussions – “Roundtable Discussions”

Mr. David Moravek and Mr. Jeff Stewart have found student success with Roundtable Discussions in G146 World History.  The emphasis is placed on student leaders creating questions and running a small group discussion on the required reading assignment.  The teacher models behavior, observes the groups, and interjects when needed.   “A player coached team is better than a coach coached team.”   –  Tom Izzo, Michigan State

Purpose of the Roundtable:  To create a student directed and managed academic discussion.  Grades will be based upon frequency of and meaning of student contributions to the group discussion.  The topics will range from supplemental readings to textbook reading.

Set up:  in small groups (7-9 students), students will arrange their desks in a circle so that everyone can see one another.  Student leaders (write and ask questions) will lead the group discussion.  They will receive a grade sheet with all student names of their group members from the classroom instructor.

Roundtable Responsibilities:
Student Leaders:
1.  The student leaders will write a specified number of comprehension (recalling facts, themes and ideas from the reading) and discussion (opinion based questions) from the reading.  Discussion questions are ones that seek to explain and evaluate the information in the reading.  They usually begin with why or how, or they seek to connect the information to something else using words or phrases such as explain, compare, contrast, what do you think, in your observation of day to day life, in your observation of others, etc. 
2.  The student leaders will begin by asking students the questions they wrote. 
3.  The student leaders are responsible for evaluating student responses and developing a discussion among the students to fully answer their question. 
4.  The student leaders should ask questions by going around the circle; incorrect or incomplete questions can then be opened up to the group. 
5.  The student leaders will track student participation by placing a check next to each person’s name when they participate in a new and meaningful way.
6.  Student responses must be correct, meaningful and unique (can’t repeat what someone else said) to receive credit.
7.  The student leaders should try to call on the students with the least number of checks when appropriate.

Group Participants:
1.  Complete the reading and complete the ‘highlight and revisit’ (Tovani!)
2.  Participate when called on by the student leader.  Raise your hand when you can either respond to a question or BUILD on an answer provided by a classmate.
3.  When you would like to participate raise your hand.  DO NOT verbally request to be called on, complain when you are not called on, or do anything else to draw additional attention to yourself.
3.  NEVER QUESTION THE STUDENT LEADER’S EVALUATION OF YOU.  If you feel that you were treated unfairly, talk to the classroom instructor at the end of the hour.
4.  Do your best to be considerate of others and participate as frequently as possible.  The more you raise your hand the more you will be called on.
5.  Respect each person’s opinions.  We attack ideas not people.
6.  Do not take it personally if someone disagrees with you.
7.   Have an enlightening discussion

Classroom Instructor:
1.        Create core “supplemental” questions for the groups to discuss at the conclusion of the Student Lead discussion in order to ensure that the core ideas were discussed.
2.       When all groups have completed their discussions, lead an all class summary that serves as a check for student learning and to fill in any gaps in student understanding of the reading.

Feel free to adapt any or all of this to your own classroom and student needs. 

Sample Grid Sheet
Date: _______________        Discussion Topic: _______________











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