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Explicitly Learning Small Group Discussion Skills

This week, Mrs. Holcombe’s English 9 classes reflected on what characteristics make small group discussions productive.

To prepare, the students individually read the poem, “Did I Miss Anything?” by Tom Wayman. They also practiced annotating it by writing their observations, questions, and thoughts in the margins. The students then met in small groups to discuss the poem and its meaning.

When the class gathered back together, Mrs. Holcombe asked the students what went well in their small group discussions and what did not. The students shared that their conversations were more interesting when everyone participated and shared their thoughts.

They noted that when no one or only a few students talked, the discussion quickly became awkward. The activity reminded students that all of their voices are important in helping each other learn.