Summer is the best time for teachers to reflect and consider trying new strategies, methods, or protocols for the next school year. The six I have selected come directly from The (Not So) Little Itty Bitty Book of Classroom Protocols book that is free for the asking!
Do you want your students to work together? Try this:
COLLABORATIVE BRAINSTORMING (Collaboration, Discussion)
Description: This is a role-assigned group method for generating original ideas and promoting higher-order thinking.
Application: Use this method when students need to expand project ideas, determine problem solutions, or review and revise answers. It can also be used as a frontloading activity.
Process: Introduce the subject to be brainstormed. Form groups of three and assign roles within group.
Organizer: contributes ideas and sets parameters for group and keeps work session flowing.
Scribe: contributes ideas and writes down every idea so that all team members can see.
Presenter: contributes ideas and shares group list with whole class.
Direct the students to brainstorm for the allotted time. Bring class back together so that each presenter shares list. Lead class discussion with a focus on prioritizing top responses.
Do you want your students to use classroom talk meaningfully? Try this:
CONSENSUS CENSUS: 1-3-6 (Discussion, Feedback, Collaboration)
Description: This collaborative strategy is designed to support students’ building group consensus.
Application: This is used when students are asked to answer a question, solve a problem, or analyze a statement.
Process: Pose a question, problem, or statement. First, ask students to individually (1) tackle the challenge. Second, form groups of three (3) in which students combine sets and agree on one list. Third, join two groups together to form groups of six (6) and instruct them to combine the two lists into a final list, prioritizing by teacher-determined parameters. Assign a student from each group to present final list.
How about feedback? Try this:
THINK ALOUDS (Feedback, Discussion)
Description: This tool helps students understand the kind of thinking required for a specific task.
Application: Use Think Alouds to model the thinking process and/or as a diagnostic tool that pinpoints a student’s strengths and weaknesses in the thinking process.
Process: Model a process that requires analytic and trial and error reasoning. Describe the process, as well as the “mental stops” along the way. Ask students to then “think aloud,” too, demonstrating their understanding of the process.
This protocol is specifically geared toward questioning. Try this:
TEST THE TEACHER (Questioning, Reading, Discussion, Feedback)
Description: Test the Teacher is a game where students will create questions based on a reading assignment and then students “test the teacher.”
Application: Use this game to check if students are reading assigned text but to also pique student interest.
Process: In preparation, assign students a reading. Tell them that each student must create at least five content-based questions from the reading. Remind them that questions can be true/false, short answer, multiple choice, or fill in the blank. Meanwhile, create a student quiz with ten to twenty questions. Say to students, “When I draw your name randomly, you will get to ask me one of your questions. If I get the answer right, I get a point. If I get it wrong, the class earns a point. I then will ask you a question from my quiz. If you get the answer correct, you earn a point for the class. If you don’t know the answer or get it wrong, you earn a point for me. Each student will get at least one turn. Although only one of you is participating at a time, your incentive is to listen so that repeated quiz questions will be easy to answer. At the end of the game if I have the most points, the class has to take the quiz. If the class has the most points, each of you will each get the total points for the quiz recorded in the grade book without actually taking the quiz.” Be ready to follow through on the game’s parameters.
How about getting students to read? Try this:
OPINION-PROOF (Reading, Writing)
Description: Opinion-Proof is a two column reading strategy that forces students to support an opinion with facts, evidence, or ideas found within a reading.
Application: Use as a pre-writing activity in language arts or social studies classes.
Process: Have a topic with corresponding reading in mind before class meets. On class day, assign reading and create a statement that requires a side to be taken. Tell students to draw a two column chart, labeling the first column “Opinion” and the second column “Proof.” Direct them to write the opinion statement in the first column and, in the second column, to bullet each supporting fact from the text, newspaper, story, or other source of content. To extend learning, require students to be prepared to use the chart as the basis for talking points in a debate, a persuasive essay, or an editorial.
Finally, would you like your students to write in class? Try this?
ADMIT SLIPS (Writing, Questioning)
Description: Admit Slips are used to help students reflect on their understanding of the previous day’s lesson or homework.
Application: Use this activity as an assessment tool.
Process: Give students a thought-provoking question that must be answered before they come to class. As students enter the classroom, collect slips. Pull random cards and read answers as a bell ringer activity.
Some of these you may have seen in your teacher travels, others may be completely new. Below are references and/or where you can find out more information:
Consensus Census: 1-3-6
The Learning Place. Consensus 1-3-6. Retrieved from learningplace.com.au
Victoria Dept. of Education and Early Child Development. Consensus 1-3-6. Retrieved from www.education.vic.gov.au
Alison Thetford, M.Ed