Using the Pro Se Court Discussion Strategy

Our first Pro Se Court was a success. A Pro Se Court has students acting as plaintiffs, defendants and judges. In this case, a third of the class had to argue about the cons of zoos, the plaintiffs. A third of the class outlined the pros, the defendants; and the rest of the students acted…

Stronger and Clearer Each Time

We were visited by Dr. Amy Salgo who introduced the students to Stronger and Clearer Each Time. The instructional approach was developed by the Understanding Language Project at Stanford University and has students engage in multiple rehearsals of a problem or question before coming to a final answer. Dr. Salgo asked the students if fractions…

A Game of Catch via Socratic Seminar

Today we did a Socratic Seminar with Richard Wibur’s A Game of Catch. This is a particularly difficult text that requires some time to fully understand and comprehend. Although the story is pretty straight forward, the subtext or hidden message, takes some effort to get to. To the credit of the students, they got there. They…

Using a “Fishbowl” to Enhance our Discussions

Today we engaged in a “fishbowl” to debate the pros and cons of having classroom pets. We used materials that presented both sides of the issue and students annotated and rehearsed making claims from either perspective. We read through three articles over the week and today we employed the instructional strategy. Students in the fishbowl…

Structured Academic Controversy: Lunches

On Friday students completed a Structured Academic Controversy. It is a strategy that has students collecting evidence from multiple sources and using that evidence to create and support a claim. In this case students learned about how some school systems are banning lunches from home and requiring all students to eat school meals. What is…

Our Pro Se Court

Today we did our first Pro Se Court. This was the culmination of reading through four different sources on zoos and identifying evidence to support claims about the value of zoos. All of the source material (here) is written at the 7th grade level and this required students to navigate complex text and work with challenging…

Using the Discussion Strategy, Fishbowl

Today we used the discussion strategy “Fishbowl” to debate whether using bottled water was more positive or negative. The students read two articles (here) and annotated the pieces looking for evidence to support one position or the other. Then they discussed both articles free of any valued added statements; instead, attention was pointed to finding evidence….

Socratic Seminar: A Game of Catch

This week we completed our first Socratic Seminar. We used the text A Game of Catch to reinforce the habit of buttressing claims with evidence from text. In this case, students had to build their case and answer the questions, Why did Scho fall from the tree? Our Socratic Seminar followed the structure listed at http://www.ProjectTahoe.org…

Keep It or Junk It–A Discussion Strategy

Today the students used the strategy “Keep It or Junk It” to help us get ready for Kids Court and our Mock Trial. The Keep It or Junk It strategy has students working in small groups to identify key vocabulary from a text. This is followed by students working as a class to negotiate what…