String Ball Discussions

[by Yago Moreno, original idea from Isabella Wallace]

You will need 4-5 balls of string.

Divide your set in 4-5 groups of 3-4 students.

Make them discuss a topic: the planning of an essay, advantages + disadvantages of something, what do they know about a certain topic.

 Every time a student makes a contribution to the group discussion, he needs to be holding the ball of string. Every time someone else wants to say something, s/he needs to grab the ball of string, but the previous student does not let go of the string. At the end of the 5-10 minutes discussion, you will be able to see who has participated and who hasn’t in the discussion.

 string

Even better: if a student is not participating in the debate, s/he will realise s/he is being left out. You will know who has contributed to the discussion, how many times…. And the rest of the students will even put pressure on the free-rider to say something!

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3 responses to “String Ball Discussions

  1. In 6th form Art crits we use the same method following research into the Harkness Discussion method. The Harkness Discussion is a method of conducting and evaluating group discussion which was developed at Phillips Exeter Academy. We track a map of the conversation to monitor regularity of contribution by students using the maps that I came across when conducting research into monitoring group discussion. It can be very powerful because it visually evidences to your students the dynamics of an effective and ineffective discussion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3bD8KYGLEw

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  2. Pingback: The Harkness Discussion Method | RGS Learning·

  3. Pingback: The K-W-L Framework for a Lesson | RGS Learning·

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