We conduct a lot of group discussions in my class. Often the format starts with an engaging question or challenge to start their curiosity, then moves on to a discussion using a routine like Think-Pair-Share. I noticed that many of my students were using some of the same behaviours:
- acknowledging a previous comment, and adding one’s own ideas
- asking each other for help (especially useful for lower-level English speakers)
- telling me they’d rather pass when I (unexpectedly) call upon them
- ask the conversation to return to them (as in, they have something to say, but need more time to get ready to speak)
- need help clarifying their ideas
What would happen if I helped my students acknowledge the way they discuss issues in class, and helped them create some common language for how they were thinking? To help them, I created these Discussion Operations posters. I introduced them at the beginning of this year to my Grade Four students, and they frequently refer to add, help, and pass.