Option 1: Chalk Talk
Chalk Talk consists of silently communicating with other students by writing ideas out. The facilitator starts by writing a question on the board. Then, students may write their responses on the board. Students then start to read what their peers have written and can respond to each other by circling someone's post, drawing an arrow, and writing. This gives students the freedom to write when they feel they are ready to say something.
Option 2: Constructivist Learning Groups
This discussion option holds all students accountable. Students are split into groups of five and each member gets a number 1-5. The facilitator informs the students that one number will be chosen to speak when it is their group's turn, but they do not know which number will be called. Therefore, everyone must be prepared to speak.
Pose a question or problem for the groups to discuss or solve. Give them a time frame and make sure to give them a one minute warning. Choose the member of the first group to share their thoughts. From there, each group has to build on the points that have already been said. This not only requires all the students to have prepared answers, but to actively listen and take notes during the discussion so they are prepared to add something new to the conversation.
Option 3: Text-Based Seminar
The facilitator poses a broad question to the class and the students lead their own discussion on the topic. The guidelines suggested by NSRF are as follows:
1. Listen actively.
2. Build on what others say.
3. Don’t step on others’ talk. Silences and pauses are OK.
4. Let the conversation flow as much as possible without raising hands or using a speaker’s list.
5. Make the assumptions underlying your comments explicit to others.
6. Emphasize clarification, amplification, and implications of ideas.
7. Watch your own air time — both in terms of how often you speak, and in terms of how much you say
when you speak.
8. Refer to the text; challenge others to go to the text.