Using Small Groups Effectively

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Newsprint Dialogue
Individual and group accountability can be encouraged by in-class reporting of group work. With newsprint, tape, and plenty of markers, your students can present their ideas and respond to other ideas as well.

Instructions for activity

• Prepare probing questions as a “jumping-off” point for ideas.
• Allow students thirty minutes to discuss the questions in their groups.
• Encourage students to spend at least ten minutes discussing (and not writing) in order to sort out main ideas and concerns.
• Allow students the rest of their discussion time to jot down ideas on newsprint.
• Require students to post their newsprint sheets around the classroom and tour the answers recorded by other groups.
• Suggest that students look for common themes and contradictions among group reports.
• Require students to make notes regarding themes and contradictions on the newsprint they are reading and examining.
• Ask students to jot down other questions on a separate sheet of newsprint.
• Bring the whole class together to debrief the notations on the newsprint and students’ perceptions of the activity.

Reference: Brookfield & Preskill (1999). Strategies for reporting small-group discussions to the class.