Thinking Groups

This is a way of grouping students so that they can share, discuss, and reflect their opinions and perspectives on things such as assignments, speeches, shows, etc. First, students are to pair up. The teacher may decide to assign the pairs or allow students to choose who they will work with. Once paired up, the teacher will explain what the students will discuss and reflect on with their partner within a given amount of time. Once the time is up, each pair will join up with another pair to form a group of four. Within these new groups, students will be asked to discuss further on the topic for a given amount of time. Once that time is up, all the students will get into a circle to form one big group where they can share with the entire class what they discussed in their smaller groups.

Benefits:

  • Students get to first work individually before joining a larger group
  • Ideas can grow
  • Sharing of opinions
  • Students can build off of each other
  • Students will see where they need more understanding of the topic

Limitations:

Applications:

  • Students don’t have to sit in a circle. When sharing as a whole, students can just sit at their desks.
  • Can be used to discuss anything
  • Teacher can use the discussion as an assessment of students understanding.

Adaptions:

  • Each group may be assigned a different aspect of the topic to discuss.
  • Ater the pairs and groups share with each other, provide a new aspect of the topic to discuss.

Cocktail Hour

Part One:

Number class off into four groups and assign each group a corner of the room. Once in their corners, have them sit and close their eyes and visualize something. For example, ask students to visualize a teacher that impacted them in some way (negative or positive) and then come up with adjectives for that teacher. Each group will collect their adjectives on a piece of paper.

Part Two:

Pick a scenario in which the four different perspectives/ roles can be used and assign each group a perspective/role. For example, if the scenario was “teacher’s pay being cut by the government” the groups could include: teachers, students, news reporters, and the government. Now, assign each group a task and goal pertaining to the scenario. For example, the news reporters are to try and figure out why teachers are on strike. Once every group understands they are to do, they are ready to go to the “Cocktail Hour” to mingle with the other groups and work to accomplish their tasks and goals. Give them a time frame such as 5 minutes for the Cocktail Hour. Once Cocktail Hour is over, have the students return to their groups to share and discuss the information they gathered pertaining to their goal. Students are to then come up with a written headline for a newspaper using their newfound information and then also form a tableau to go along with the headline. When the groups are ready, have each group present their tableau to the class while the class guesses the headline. Have the groups say their correct headlines.

Part Three:

For students to observe what they have just accomplished, have them once again close their eye but now have them reflect on their adjectives that they came up with at the start of the activity. To finish, you may ask them how they feel about those adjectives after experiencing the “cocktail hour” or have them summarize their feeling in a sentence.

 

Benefits:

  • Groupwork
  • critical thinking and discussion
  • New perspectives
  • Any scenario can be used for the cocktail hour to fit any curriculum
  • Encourages students to be visual
  • Helps students understand the situation

Limitations:

  • Lengthy in time
  • A regular classroom with many desks and chairs may not be enough room

Applications:

  • Can fit any curriculum depending on the chosen scenario

Adaptions:

  • Any scenario/ issue can be chosen
  • Can fit any curriculum
  • After creating the headline as a group, students could individually write their own article to go along with the headline.

Imaginary Ball Toss Name Game

 

For this activity, participants are to stand in a circle about a foot apart. One participant begins by pretending to throw a ball to another participant in the circle. The receiver of the imaginary ball pretends to catch the ball by clapping their hands. They then pass the imaginary ball to a different participant. This process goes on until everyone has caught the imaginary ball and then it repeats with participants always throwing to the same person that they originally threw to.

To increase the difficulty, an actual ball may be added. This time, when participants catch the ball, they will say their name before passing it.

Benefits:

  • Memorization of names
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Icebreaker
  • Encourages concentration

Limitations:

  • May not be timely
  • Communication may be unclear

Applications:

  • Icebreaker
  • Warm up
  • Can be used as a brain break

Adaptions:

  • Adding actual balls
  • Two balls may be added to increase focus and concentration
  • Reversing so that participants throw to who had originally thrown to them.
  • Instead of saying their own name, participants say the name of who they are throwing to.