Thursday, October 8, 2015

Flex Mod Small Group Discussion with the Harkness Style of Discussion

For the first time, Mr. Krause, Mr. Rodal, and Ms. Krause (Mrs. Schartner) implemented aspects of the Harkness Style of discussion.  While we didn't have a large wooden table, we were able to have comfortable dialogue among a group of students ranging in number from 10 to 16.

Students focused their discussion on the interactions of the American Government with Native Americans.  Students needed to complete the discussion questions prior to small group.  The students utilized their Google Doc on their personal mobile device or on a class provided iPad.  In addition, main points of the discussion were written down by the students on a paper version.

The discussion questions completed during the conversation.  The TOR is the "Teacher of Record" and this completed sheet is turned into that teacher.

Our classroom set up.  Students used personal mobile devices or classroom iPads to access their Google Document prepared prior to the discussion time.

I was responsible for drawing the conversation path.  Each line represents a speaking opportunity from a student.  The lines are connected from person to person as they spoke.  We created a template that was created for each class.  Once students sat in a specific spot, students wrote their name prior to class.

To be fair, this was the first attempt by the teacher.  The teacher is in the top right corner with all of the lines. 

The very next mod, after reviewing the above discussion diagram, students in the next mod conducted this conversation.  The only change in this discussion would have been more teacher directed dialogue for question number 3.

Overall, having the flex mod "small group" classes provides a tremendous opportunity for a small number of students to discuss topics in an in-depth and engaging way.

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