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Grouping and Discussion Techniques

Think/Pair/Share-
Think/Pair/Share is a collaborative learning strategy in which students work to solve a problem or
answer a question. It requires students to think individually about a topic or question, then share their
thinking building their oral communication skills, and engage all students for maximum participation.

The procedure is as follows:
1) Individuals reflect on for one minute in response to a question.
2) Participants pair up with someone sitting near them and share responses/thoughts verbally for two
minutes
3) The teacher randomly chooses a few pairs to give a quick summary of their ideas/thoughts.

Turn and Talk-
This strategy permits all students to participate in discussion, rather than only a few students
participating in a class-wide discussion. All students are able to process new learning while engaging
in meaningful conversation with a classmate.

The procedure is as follows:
1) Pose a question or prompt and tell students how much time they will have.
2) Students turn to a specific partner (elbow, clock, AB).
3) Students talk for the allotted time.
4) Students share out thoughts or ideas from the discussion to the whole group.

Fishbowl-
Fishbowl activities allow a student to practice a skill while their peers observe.
A small group of students arrange themselves in a circle in the center of a room. The group will
conduct a discussion while the rest of the students watch and take notes. The teacher can be part of
either the inner "fishbowl" circle or the outer circle.

After a set amount of time, the inside circle finishes their discussion and the outside circle discusses
what they observed, pose questions and give comments about what they observed. This may take as
much time as the fishbowl discussion itself, or more. The teacher might begin by inviting the outside
circle to add their thoughts on the subject of the fishbowl conversation. The inside participants listen
and then respond to the comments. Teachers may also ask those in the inner circle to assess their
discussion first, then ask the outside circle to add their comments, as long as everyone can discuss
what happened.

Fishbowl Discussion Notes Templates:
http://www.envisionprojects.org/cs/envision/view/env_mat/109
http://www.scienceteacherprogram.org/genscience/fishbowl_files/fishbowl.pdf

Partners
Partners are essential to meeting the speaking and listening standards in the ELA CCSS for all grade
levels. Below are several easy ways to group students:

A/B Partners-
A/B partners are usually partners that are in close proximity and can speak to each other quickly.
Small groups can have A/B partners for more focused discussions. Two students should decide
who will be A and who will be B. The teacher should provide direction with tasks by
referring to A partner and B partner.

Elbow/Knee Partners-
Elbow/knee partners are very similar to A/B partners except that they are sitting right next to
each other.

Clock -
Clock partners are a quick way to create pairs for activities without always working with the
same partner. Students should draw a circle and mark 12, 3 6, and 9 oclock. Students then
make appointments with other students in the room. The teacher can set parameters for the
appointments. Students sign each others clocks so that they match the same time. Clocks can
be taped inside a notebook cover for safekeeping. The teacher then specifies which clock
partner students should use when asked.

Clock Templates:
http://alex.state.al.us/ccrs/sites/alex.state.al.us.ccrs/files/Handout%202%20ClockBuddies.pdf
http://mathforum.org/~claire/quest/Downloadables/PartnerClock.pdf


Other fun partnering ideas:
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2013/11/15-quick-and-creative-ways-group-and-
partner-students


Random Sampling-
It is important to make sure every student has an opportunity to contribute during classroom
discussions. Here are several strategies to ensure equal opportunities for all students to participate.

Popsicle sticks- Using colored popsicle sticks for different classes or subjects (especially if you
have students coming and going during different subjects),write each students name on a stick.
Randomly pull the sticks to call on students in the classroom. Sticks can either be returned to the
container as they are used or held off to the side until every child has participated. These sticks
can also be used for grouping students and choosing helpers.

Apps- Stick Pick
Teachers Assistant
Random Name Selector Lite
iLEAP Pick a Student
Teachers Tools- Whos Next?
Team Shake

Smart Board- Random Name Selector
Multiclass Name Picker
DAILY Classroom Tools