Whole-class activities for BSL sessions
Present students with a statement. Divide the class in half. One half are for, one half are against. Groups have time in which to develop their arguments. Students then pair up. Each pair should have a ‘for’ person and an ‘against’ person. Pupils take it in turns to put their case (1-2 minutes each) before both speaking at the same time (1 minute). The ‘for’ students then stand up and find a new partner and the process is repeated.
Buzz groups/report back
In small groups, students discuss a topic or question briefly to generate arguments, answers or ideas.
Groups report back one key idea to wider class. A summary of all the group’s ideas is recorded centrally for everyone.
Present students with some stimulus material which will cause them to talk and discuss. Examples include: video, object(s), article, point(s) of view, music, image(s), infographic, statistics, items they need to identify errors in, etc.
You can present the item to the whole class or divide students into groups and then give each group a piece of stimulus material. Scaffold the discussion by providing model questions or categories of analysis.
Social annotation/collaborative annotation
Ask students to collaboratively note-take and ask questions on the weekly reading directly. Students can comment on passages, respond to directed prompts provided by the instructor, or answer other students' questions and points of confusion.
Create a set of questions you can use as the basis of a whole-class or group discussion. The questions should connect to the topic in question or a particular theme. You can present the questions orally or in writing. If working in groups, students can go through the questions at their own pace or at a pace set by the teacher. Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to underpin the questions, ensuring they get progressively more challenging. Appoint a scribe (or scribes in each group) to record what is said during the discussions.
Students work in groups of four. The teacher introduces the topic and invites groups to prepare a set of notes ready for a whole-class discussion. (You may want to make it for and against or hand out specific roles to different groups). After sufficient time has passed, the teacher asks each group to nominate two discussers and two watchers. The class forms two concentric circles (perhaps campus and remote students for BSL). On the inside are the teacher and the discussers. On the outside are the watchers. The teacher leads the inner circle in a discussion while the outer circle watches and makes notes. When time has passed, the outer circle give feedback on the ideas and performance of the inner circle. The circles may then swap over if you have enough time.
How to provide feedback
A whole-class discussion is a great opportunity for informal feedback. To provide feedback to your students, facilitate the discussion by steering it in the right direction. For example, if a student’s answer is on track, invite other students to add to the comment. If students are missing the mark, you can change the direction of the conversation by asking more specific questions or asking for alternative answers. By supporting or correcting specific comments or answers you are providing informal feedback to all students in the class.
Support and resources
- Asking questions to support student learning (MCSHE guide)
- Giving and receiving good in class feedback
- Padlet staff guides
This page was last updated on 04 Feb 2022.
Please report any errors on this page to our website maintainers