One of my new favorite ways to keep discussion fresh and interesting is to throw in a 4 corner discussion. For me, it is one of those techniques that I saw a hundred times at professional development trainings, but didn't actually implement until last school year. This technique is my go-to fun, but academic plan for minimum day schedules or other days when students tend to be distracted. It is so simple to set up and implement. Do you use this discussion strategy? We'd love to hear about any experience or spins from your classrooms!
One of my teacher resolutions this year is to help students grapple with complexity. I want them to read both fiction and informational texts with an eye to layers of meaning and multiple perspectives. Discussion is one tool to accomplish this goal and I've told you how much I love Socratic Seminar and Literature Circles, but today I want to talk about using debate in the classroom. DISCLAIMER: I am not trained in the classical form of debate, which has very particular goals, rules, and regulations. While I respect my colleagues who lead debate teams, I find that many English teachers I know do not know the traditional debate rules and many English students I know do not have the same kind of enthusiasm for every class period that many debate team members have for every debate. So instead of adhering to the structure, I am just going to offer some advice for preparing a simple classroom debate.
As English teachers, we are always looking for different strategies to engage our students in the core literature that we’re teaching. Today's strategy spotlight is on the Socratic seminar. I’ve used Socratic seminar with low and high level classes with tremendous success and it is always one of the high points on my annual student evaluation forms. It’s a great tool to have in your toolbox along with the other amazing resources and assessments from Simply Novel. Be sure to check back all summer for more strategies and freebies all year long!