Silent Discussion = Process Writing Process > Product Just like a classroom discussion!
Research Base Process writing is the most effective strategy to raise reading scores (effect size 0.72) Writing to Read, 2010
Silent Discussion 1. Read “Boss Hog—Part 1” 2. Form groups of 4 3. Distribute a prompt to each member of the group 4. Respond to your prompt: 2 minutes 5. Pass clockwise 6. Respond to either the new prompt or your partner 7. Continue to pass and respond until you receive your prompt (four passes) 8. Summarize the discussion for the group
General Procedure 1. Generate discussion questions 2. Group students in fours 3. Give students 2-4 minutes to write in each round 4. Give students option to respond to prompt or previous students 5. Original responders should summarize discussion for group—in writing or verbally 6. Give small groups time to discuss verbally 7. Move to whole class discussion if desired
Silent Discussion Prompts/Questions Can be general: How does this relate to what we’ve learned so far in this unit? What are the most import ideas to remember from the reading? Why? What was the hardest part for you to understand? What did you do to help yourself? Can be specific: List the steps in the Krebs Cycle. How would the US have been different if FDR lost the election in 1932? How can this formula be applied in a real-life situation?
Flexibility Silent discussion can be used Before a traditional class discussion Everyone will have something to say! After a traditional class discussion Everyone will get to participate!
Variations Have students generate discussion questions (advanced) Allow students to generate discussion without prompts— i.e. begin with a blank sheet of paper (even more advanced)
What Can Go Wrong? Unprepared students (didn’t read, absent for lab, etc.) Option 1: Hold them out and have them catch up on work Option 2: Let them participate, sharing what they do know and posing insightful questions about what they don’t
What Can Go Wrong? Fluent and Disfluent writers in the same class Option 1: Homogenous grouping Option 2: Heterogeneous grouping This kind of writing builds fluency!
Assessment Use as a formative assessment What do they know? Where are the gaps in their understanding? What do I need to reteach?
Assessment Give students participation points/credit Silent Discussion should take almost no time to grade!
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