Sparking Discussion In Your Classroom

By Laura Shanteler

High School StudentsLooking for a creative way to spark a discussion in your class?  Let’s face it. Sometimes it can be tough to cover content and work in time for kids to talk about their learning. Here’s one way you can work it in and push your students’ thinking.

These are sample sentence starters/conversation starters that you can adapt to what you are working on in your classroom at the time.

Here are sample student answers. Are they correct? Why or why not? Explain the mistake the person who got the wrong answer made.

Social Studies:
This is an opinion about (topic) that was posted online. Do you agree or disagree? Why? (Cite specific evidence from text, etc.)

This process (topic) was observed by someone doing research. Based on what you know about (topic), what do you think happened here? Why do you think that (cite evidence)

Here is a rough draft with edits and revisions made by a peer in their class. Look it over. Do you agree with the revisions and the feedback that the peer gave? Did they miss anything? What would be your feedback for both of these writers?

Here is a essay about (text) that was written by another student. Based on what you know from the text, do you agree or disagree with their position? Why or why not? Cite evidence  from the text.

These can be used as end of class discussions that are not lengthy, or they can be infused into an entire class period where students work together in pairs or groups to develop their thoughts and then turn to a whole group discussion for the rest of the class.

Keep us posted with your own ideas for getting kids talking in all class subjects!

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