Tag Archives: Group Work

The Wire — Discussion Guidelines

Wire Discussion Guidelines

Shared by Elizabeth Baldridge

Inspired by Stephanie Guedet

Every Monday, a student is in charge of leading class discussion of a selected episode of season 4 of The Wire. But this model could be used for a wide variety of shared reading/viewing/listening options. Students are doing really well with it.


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Marshmallow Experiment Unit

Video 100 Marshmallow Video

Reading 101 Reading About Marshmallows

Reading 102 More Reading About Marshmallows

Activity 100 Thinking About the Marshmallow Video

Activity 101 Thinking About Mischel’s Marshmallow Test Articles

Activity 102 Discussion of Short Writing 2 Experiencing Delayed Gratification

Activity 103 Audience Analysis

Activity 201 Previewing and Predicting U of Rochester Study

Short Writing 101 Experiencing Delayed Gratification

Short Writing 300 Writing a Summary

Essay 1 Delayed Gratification

Shared by Peter Adams

The idea of this reading/writing project is to immerse students in a particular issue for 3 to 5 weeks, during which time they read a variety of articles, perhaps watch a video, participate in small group discussions, write a one-pager (or two), and finally produce a thoughtful, well-argued 3-4 page essay on the topic.
I use these some of these materials in the 101-level course and others in the developmental companion course. I have found students write much more engaged and thoughtful papers after this extended kind of experience.  Of course there is only time for three, maybe four, of these projects in a semester.

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Theme Song Introductions

Theme Song Introductions

Shared by Nicole Hancock

This activity uses student analysis of television theme songs as the basis for a discussion regarding what makes for an effective introduction.

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Group Presentations

Group Presentations

Shared by Jeremy Branstad

I use this assignment to help students understand the concepts of main ideas and supporting details. The assignment is given during unit two, the placeography, and involves having students work together in groups to give a presentation to the class. They decide on a main idea for their presentation together as a group. They then go out and take pictures to support that main idea. Students use the worksheet (page 2 of the attachment) to do all the planning collaboratively during classtime.

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Book Club Materials

Book Ballot

Ground Rules for Book Clubs

Book Checkout Form

Reading Strategies 101

Reading Strategies 101Filledin

Book Club Reflections 216

The Envelope please

Book Club Final Reflections

Shared by Meagan Newberry

With inspiration from/credit to Harvey Daniels’s Literature Circles

Students formed groups based on the book of their choice (they turn in a top 3 out of a choice of about six—I got a grant to buy sets of book). They met for about 20-30 minutes once a week. They set their own ground rules, after we talked a bit about what makes a group  work, etc. I also spent time on reading strategies (attached, but I use those separately with the whole class, or even in classes without book clubs).The “Book Club Reflections 216” attachment is one example of what I asked them all to do each time they met. I used the honor system and asked them to report if they read or not, and if so, how much. I found that students self-reported pretty accurately, and I simply choose not to police them because I want the crux of this to be reading both for pleasure and the challenge of discussing chosen reading. Most students participate actively and enjoy the process. Of course, a few are always unprepared, and we talk about how to prevent that. For those few, the “grade threat” sadly is what pushes them to try to be prepared. I really hope for intrinsic motivation with this, and for 80% of students, it works really well. I highly recommend a copy of “Literature Circles” or “Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles,” both by Harvey Daniels.

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Wikipedia Assignment

Wikipedia assignment

Shared by Sarah Alexander Tsai

This group project, which can easily be scaled up or down, invites students to trace the way Wikipedia authors use and cite secondary sources.  In following Wikipedia‘s “research paths,” students are likely to recognize both the strengths and limitations of collaboratively edited resources.

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Highlighting to Make Visual Sense: Paragraph Practice

Highlighting Body Paragraphs

Shared by Isabel Quintana Wulf

With inspiration from/credit to Melissa Lucken, Lansing Community College, MI

The goal of this activity is to devise strategies a student can use to determine whether body paragraphs have all the parts they need to have: topic sentence, evidence/ examples, analysis, and transitions. I provide six examples of body ¶s from former students (or from current student essays chosen randomly depending on what time of the semester you chose to do this activity in class): I give them the overall thesis statement for the essay and one random body ¶. I ask them to highlight the topic sentence with one color, the evidence/ examples with another color, and the analysis with yet another color. I also ask them to circle the transitions they find in the ¶. Once you have given students some time to go over one ¶ (maybe 5 to 7 minutes?) and highlight its parts, do the exercise together using a projector or using the computer in the classroom if that is available to you. Discuss any discrepancies between different interpretations students might have and use the opportunity to show what constitutes evidence and what constitutes analysis. Repeat two or three times more as a class before asking them to highlight their own body ¶s or those of their peers. I use this strategy periodically in class and the visual effect seems to help students understand what is missing from the ¶s (usually a huge color gap for whatever the color of analysis was!). Repeat the activity every once in a while in class as a group to cement their understanding of what they are doing.

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Who’s Your Reader? Magazine Audience Activities

magazine audience activity

Shared by Sarah Tsai

I usually bring a diverse collection of magazines to class for these two activities, but online periodicals would work just as well.  The second activity (p. 2) has a surprise buried in it.  Each group/pair of students must swap topics with another group/pair.  They must find a way to make their new topic appeal to the readers of the periodical they’re using.

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