Student Action: Pairs
74. Think-Pair-Share – Students share and compare possible answers to a question with a partner before addressing the larger class.
75. Pair-Share-Repeat – After a pair-share experience, ask students to find a new partner and debrief the wisdom of the old partnership to this new partner.
76. Teacher and Student - Individually brainstorm the main points of the last homework, then assign roles of teacher and student to pairs. The teacher’s job is to sketch the main points, while the student’s job is to cross off points on his list as they are mentioned, but come up with 2-3 ones missed by the teacher.
77. Wisdom of Another – After any individual brainstorm or creative activity, partner students up to share their results. Then, call for volunteers of students who found their partner’s work to be interesting or exemplary. Students are sometimes more willing to share in plenary the work of fellow students than their own work.
78. Forced Debate – Students debate in pairs, but must defend the opposite side of their personal opinion. Variation: half the class take one position, half the other. They line up and face each other. Each student may only speak once, so that all students on both sides can engage the issue.
79. Optimist/Pessimist – In pairs, students take opposite emotional sides of a conversation. This technique can be applied to case studies and problem solving as well.
80. Peer Review Writing Task – To assist students with a writing assignments, encourage them to exchange drafts with a partner. The partner reads the essay and writes a threeparagraph response: the first paragraph outlines the strengths of the essay, the second paragraph discusses the essay’s problems, and the third paragraph is a description of what the partner would focus on in revision, if it were her essay.
81. Invented Dialogues – Students weave together real quotes from primary sources, or invent ones to fit the speaker and context.
82. My Christmas Gift – Students mentally select one of their recent gifts as related to or emblematic of a concept given in class, and must tell their partners how this gift relates to the concept. The one with a closer connection wins.
83. Psychoanalysis – Students get into pairs and interview one another about a recent learning unit. The focus, however, is upon analysis of the material rather than rote memorization. Sample Interview Questions: Can you describe to me the topic that you
would like to analyze today? What were your attitudes/beliefs before this topic? How did your attitudes/beliefs change after learning about this topic? How will/have your actions/decisions altered based on your learning of this topic? How have your perceptions of others/events changed?
Student Action: Groups
84. Jigsaw (Group Experts) – Give each group a different topic. Re-mix groups with one planted “expert” on each topic, who now has to teach his new group.
85. Board Rotation – Assign groups of students to each of the boards you have set up in the room (four or more works best), and assign one topic/question per board. After each group writes an answer, they rotate to the next board and write their answer below the first, and so on around the room.
86. Pick the Winner – Divide the class into groups and have all groups work on the same problem and record an answer/strategy on paper. Then, ask groups to switch with a nearby group, and evaluate their answer. After a few minutes, allow each set of groups to merge and ask them to select the better answer from the two choices, which will be presented to the class as a whole.
87. Layered Cake Discussion - Every table/group works on the same task for a few minutes, then there’s a plenary debrief for the whole class, and finally repeat with a new topic to be discussed in the groups.
88. Lecture Reaction – Divide the class into four groups after a lecture: questioners (must ask two questions related to the material), example givers (provide applications), divergent thinkers (must disagree with some points of the lecture), and agreers (explain which points they agreed with or found helpful). After discussion, brief the whole class.
89. Movie Application – In groups, students discuss examples of movies that made use of a concept or event discussed in class, trying to identify at least one way the movie-makers got it right, and one way they got it wrong.
90. Student Pictures – Ask students to bring their own pictures from home to illustrate a specific concept to their working groups.
91. Definitions and Applications – In groups, students provide definitions, associations, and applications of concepts discussed in lecture.
92. TV Commercial – In groups, students create a 30-second TV commercial for the subject currently being discussed in class. Variation: ask them to act out their commercials.
93. Blender – Students silently write a definition or brainstorm an idea for several minutes on paper. Then they form into groups, and two of them read their ideas and integrate elements from each. A third student reads his, and again integration occurs with the previous two, until finally everyone in the group has been integrated (or has attempted integration).
94. Human Tableau or Class Modeling – Groups create living scenes (also of inanimate objects) which relate to the classroom concepts or discussions.
95. Build From Restricted Components – Provide limited resources (or a discrete list of ideas that must be used) and either literally or figuratively dump them on the table, asking students in groups to construct a solution using only these things (note: may be familiar from the Apollo 13 movie). If possible, provide red herrings, and ask students to construct a solution using the minimum amount of items possible.
96. Ranking Alternatives – Teacher gives a situation, everyone thinks up as many alternative courses of action (or explanations of the situation) as possible. Compile list. In groups, now rank them by preference.
97. Simulation – Place the class into a long-term simulation (like as a business) to enable Problem-Based Learning (PBL).
98. Group Instructional Feedback Technique – Someone other than the teacher polls groups on what works, what doesn’t, and how to fix it, then reports them to the teacher.
99. Classroom Assessment Quality Circles – A small group of students forms a “committee” on the quality of teaching and learning, which meets regularly and includes the instructor.
100. Audio and Videotaped Protocols – Taping students while they are solving problems assesses the learner’s awareness of his own thinking.
101. Imaginary Show and Tell – Students pretend they have brought an object relevant to current discussion, and “display” it to the class while talking about its properties.
102. Six Degrees of “RNA Transcription Errors” – Like the parlor game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” (in which actors are linked by joint projects), you provide groups with a conceptual start point and challenge them to leap to a given concept in six moves or fewer. One student judge in each group determines if each leap is fair and records the nature of the leaps for reporting back to the class.