After organizing students into groups of 6-8 within Moodle, she had them log in, randomly dispersed throughout the room, and enter the chat room. Students were given 6 question prompts, but were encouraged to only use those as a starting point for discussion.
For the next 90 minutes, the students debated and questioned each other regarding whether the character, Santiago, is a tragic hero, the choice of title, the significance of the lions on the beach, whether Santiago was a success or failure, religious symbolism, satisfaction with the ending, and whether they saw a bit of themselves in the story. Aside from the clickity-clack of keyboards, there wasn't a sound!
This exercise allowed students who might be less likely to share in a face to face large or small group setting the opportunity to share ideas in a non-threatening way.
Students were engaged, and discussing topics at a much higher level than a typical in class discussion.
It was also an opportunity for students to practice constructed response, a component of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment math, science and reading tests.
During one chat session today, the following exchange took place:
How often would a student ask a fellow student to "elaborate" in your classroom?!
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