Since I wrote the post about Graph Theory, I’ve been toying with discussion in my head. So here’s what I’m thinking about one week later.
1) Create a rubric for pre-, during-, (and maybe post-) discussion for teachers. This would include some of the 5 Practices explained here (thanks productivestruggle) and generally require that before discussion, the teacher knows what thinking from which students is most going to shape the discussion. So yes, these rubrics will exist (soon? somewhat?).
2) Allow for different whole-class discussion modes. And practice/debrief them with students. There are lots of different types of discussions. I’m imagining places where the loudest voice wins and discussions are freeform versus places where people take intentional turns sharing ideas. Why shouldn’t the classroom have similarly varied discussion modes? I’m imagining that we could name whatever discussion modes we come up with and choose our mode based on the discussion or what the presenter/discussion-leader wants. (What other categories besides loudest-voice-wins and raising-hands should I be thinking about?)
3) Making norms with students, regardless of the discussion. Many teachers have students rephrase what the last person said before adding to the discussion; that is going to be one norm for sure. Other norms: How do students/how can we unobtrusively show agreement/appreciation for the speaker without re-stating? What language should we use for agreement/disagreement/building? How do we disagree respectfully? How do we react if we feel attacked?
Next year (maybe this year – team NV?), I want to start by having a “dual circles” discussion where, having established some norms, we have a discussion with half the class actually talking and the other half taking notes on what’s happening during the discussion, all followed by a debrief.
Also, JK and I have plans for making some pretty awesome exemplar (and non-exemplar) videos this summer — for turn-and-talks, small group, and whole-class discussions. Anyone want to star in them with us? You’d be FAMOUS.