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HMS Amazing Race Business Participant - Healing Hearts of Waukesha - "Adopt a Child" information below. Our HMS community (individual teachers and/or classrooms) can work together to help these children!

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Ongoing Discussion Strategies

Below are three different strategies to use in classrooms in order to encourage ongoing student-led discussions. When you try out one or more of these strategies, please share with others in your PLC in order to continue to "teach these strategies forward."

From: Cult of Pedagogy


One of the limitations of discussion is that rich, face-to-face conversations can only happen when all parties are available, so we’re limited to the time we have in class. With a tool like Voxer, those limitations disappear. Like a private voice mailbox that you set up with just one person or a group (but SOOOO much easier), Voxer allows users to have conversations at whatever time is most convenient for each participant. So a group of four students can “discuss” a topic from 3pm until bedtime—asynchronously—each member contributing whenever they have a moment, and if the teacher makes herself part of the group, she can listen in, offer feedback, or contribute her own discussion points. Voxer is also invaluable for collaborating on projects and for having one-on-one discussions with students, parents, and your own colleagues. Like many other educators, Peter DeWitt took a while to really understand the potential of Voxer, but in this EdWeek piece, he explains what turned him around.

All About Voxer

Backchannel Discussions

A backchannel is a conversation that happens right alongside another activity. The first time I saw a backchannel in action was at my first unconference: While those of us in the audience listened to presenters and watched a few short video clips, a separate screen was up beside the main screen, projecting something called TodaysMeet. It looked a lot like those chat rooms from back in the day, basically a blank screen where people would contribute a few lines of text, the lines stacking up one after the other, no other bells or whistles. Anyone in the room could participate in this conversation on their phone, laptop, or tablet, asking questions, offering commentary, and sharing links to related resources without ever interrupting the flow of the presentations. To win a prize, be the first to say in person to Mr. Wegner, "What did you do on this beautiful weekend?" This kind of tool allows for a completely silent discussion, one that doesn’t have to move at a super-fast pace, and it gives students who may be reluctant to speak up or who process their thoughts more slowly a chance to fully contribute. For a deeper discussion of how this kind of tool can be used, read this thoughtful overview of using backchannel discussions in the classroom by Edutopia’s Beth Holland.
Backchannel: TodaysMeet

Talk Moves/Accountable Talk

Talk moves are sentence frames we supply to our students that help them express ideas and interact with one another in respectful, academically appropriate ways. From kindergarten all the way through college, students can benefit from explicit instruction in the skills of summarizing another person’s argument before presenting an alternate view, asking clarifying questions, and expressing agreement or partial agreement with the stance of another participant. Talk moves can be incorporated into any of the other discussion formats listed here.

Next Growth Mindset study group face-to-face meeting is this Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 2:45-3:15 p.m. in Room 202. Treats will be provided. We will discuss Chapters 4-6 in Mindset. Video below relates to some of the main themes that the group is reading/talking about/facilitating with students.

One of the BEST Motivational Videos I've ever seen!