Synchronous Learning Discussion Tips

Are you concerned you are going to lose student engagement during remote instruction? How are you going to keep your kids involved and learning during synchronous instruction?  Here are a few strategies you can use to keep your kids engaged.

Try a Structured Discussion

Add purpose to your breakout rooms.  One of my favorite strategies is a Structured Discussion.  Students are given a topic, background information and provocative questions.  They then discuss in a small group to prepare for a large group discussion.  This strategy will still work during synchronous instruction. Make sure your kids are prepared for the small group discussion by assigning groups in advance as well as the resource materials they will need.  Provide them clear directions as well and a reasonable time limit.  When students return to the large group, they can appoint a speaker (or you can call on one) and they can share the answers to their discussion. You can practice with this free resource on Nathan Hale. 

Roving Reporter

This strategy will work to engage students by role-playing a reporter who asks historical characters higher-level questions.  Place the students with a partner in a breakout room and give them time to write 3-4 questions.  Then assign 1/2 of your students the role of the historical character and 1/2 the role of the reporter.  Mix up the partner groups in new breakout rooms and give them time to “interview” each other.  When they finish, they can return to their original partner and write a report about what they have learned. Find more discussion strategies here.

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