Class discussions

This idea popped up yesterday on Yahoo groups from Tawana Patton, and it sounds like a great tweak on class discussions…maybe as much for my English class as the Russian ones.

“I sometimes use a text- based fish bowl protocol for text discussions. Half of
the students sit in the inner circle and the other half sit in the outer circle.
Each student has a copy of the discussion rubric. The students in the inner
circle participate in the timed discussion first. The students in the outer
circle are each assigned to peer evaluate a student in the inner circle using
the rubric. After the timer goes off, students switch positions (the ones in the
inner circle move to the outer circle). They then evaluate the person who
evaluated them. After the discussion, debrief the fishbowl process. In my
debriefs, students have stated that the process keeps them from checking out
because they have to evaluate someone or they know they are being evaluated.

Examples of rubric criteria:

-I can participate in a text-based discussion. I regularly refer to the text
when I share with paraphrasing and direct quotes.

-I can contribute to the discussion but I wait until at least 3 others have
commented before I share.

-I share short responses. They are focused on the most important info.

Students are rated as exceeding, meeting, developing, beginning, or no evidence
on each criteria.

The cool thing about the rubric is that you can make it contain content specific
criteria as well as behavior criteria.

I have used the above criteria for my ancillary class (Work Ethic), which is not
a world language class. I believe that it can work in upper level language
classes. I would modify the criteria for the lower level language classes.

It is also cool to stop the discussion half way thru and take 1 minute to have
the students in the outer circle give a verbal handshake (positive feedback) to
the students they are evaluating. This feedback is based on their performance of
the criteria from the rubric. “Maria, great job of waiting for your turn.” “Sam,
you are really referring to the text.”

Hope this helps.”

Tawanna Patton

Jody also added to the discussion:

I used to teach both Language Arts and History in addition to Spanish. When we
read a book or a reading for history an assignment I used to give students was
to write their own questions. I taught them Bloom’s Taxonomy and then told
them that they had to write one, or sometimes two or three questions from each
level, knowledge/recall/application/analysis/synthesis/evaluation. After that I
did a variety of things. Sometimes I took their questions and mixed them with
mine and we had a large group discussion, other times they got into small groups
and asked each other and then decided which questions to ask the class. I would
take my turn asking my questions with them as well. This created more buy
in and accountability for the students.”

2 responses to “Class discussions

  1. Jody, la rubiacita,
    Jody from SF (there are so many of us 🙂


  2. OMG…no wonder I’m confused!! I need to meet you all in person or Skype. Reminds me of when there were four Michelle/Micheles teaching Russian in Alaska. No one ever knew who anyone was. We’re down to two, and that’s a whole lot easier!


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