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Application of small groups & discussion

On Thursday, February 19th, I invited Wendy Prioleau, Alaina Bitzelberger, and my department chair, Brandi Dorsey into my classroom to provide feedback on a new organization of teaching I was testing out with my GT class. We worked independently for a little less than 20 minutes where the students had to gather information about the four regions in Europe (north, south, east, and west). They were able to get this information from either a brochure I created for them or a gallery walk of infographics that were created by my other classes. Unfortunately, we did not have time for a video I found, but I asked a summary question for each of the 4 regions and the class was able to correctly answer the questions. 

I explained what was to be expected of the class for the rest of class. I explained that the students were either going to a solid color table, which housed the discussion groups or a pattern table that housed projects. The discussion group was expected to discuss which region they believe would be the best for visiting and each person was responsible for a different role. They also choose how they wanted to answer the questions - either using discussion cards or placemats. The project groups created an advertisement for a travel agency for one of the four regions. Again, each person had a role in their group and they could create their advertisement however they wished. 

Upon reflection, I loved how this structure went. I felt that the students were able to express themselves in a manner that works best for them. It also forces them to work with people they may not be use to working with. The conversations I heard were engaging and were diving deep into the material. The projects I saw were creative and informative. I would have changed the beginning part of the lesson where the students should choose 2 of the 4 regions to take notes on and then move into the small groups, this way they have more time in the small groups and they still are exposed to all of the information. 

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