From CLASSrooms to BREAKOUT rooms:

Strategies for 100% Engagement

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Group work, breakout room activities, tasks, and cooperative learning assignments have one common caveat: How do we know if ALL students are participating and more importantly, PROCESSING THE LANGUAGE as they participate in the ‘learning event?’ The answer is we don’t– just like we really don’t know if students have independently done their homework.

Although there is no sure-fire way to make sure students are processing the language and truly engaging in the ‘activity,’ there are some key strategies we can use to make it exceptionally difficult to check out and avoid participation. These are MY tried and true strategies, and I’m sure others have more. It would be great to compile a list for all to access. If you’re willing to share other ideas, we will compile the list and make it accessible online.

The following are a few ideas with subsequent examples, which are all given in English. Please note that all activities/tasks would be completed in the target language. For example’s sake, pretend this is for an ESL class:

SEQUENCING TASKS:
(based on Brandon Brown Wants a Dog)

Students collectively put events in order and then independently complete any of the following tasks.

NOTE: I prefer to group students in numbers that equal the number of events:

1. Shuffle the events to create a sequence that is NOT logical or possible*.

2. Shuffle the events to create a different sequence that COULD be logical/possible.*

3. Read Between the Lines: Add at least 1, 2 or 3 events that would logically have taken place between each event.

4. Read Between the Lines: Add at least 1, 2 or 3 events that COULD NOT have taken place between each event.

5. Speak Between the Lines: Output-driven: Since this requires student production, it is best suited for novice-mid/high and beyond. Create a logical dialogue that could have occurred before, during or after one or some of the events (at least 2 people/2 lines per person). Once the class reconvenes, call on groups to read their script, as if it were Reader’s Theater with a narrator and the characters. It’s great fun to watch students try to pretend they are narrating when all they have in front of them is the simple sentences in the sequence.

6. Speak Between the Lines: Input-driven: Provide students with one or two lines of dialogue they must fit into the sequence in the most logical place. You can write the dialogue as individual lines and have students create 2-line/sentence sets based on logic, or you can provide the lines in sets to make it a bit easier for students. Each student in the group must put their assigned line(s) in a logical place in the sequence.

*You could also assign this task to ALL students once the initial sequencing task is completed. Students would have 1-2 minutes to complete the second(ary) step, followed by each group member checking each others’ product. They should verify how many identical vs. unique sequences their group created. When the whole class reconvenes, the class facilitator can review the actual order and compare it to all of the other sequences that students have invented.

If two people placed their dialogue in the same place, you can either:
A. Have the group collaboratively move one set of dialogue.

B. Each individual must independently reconsider their assigned line of dialogue and consider moving it to another position.

(Remember, that this is NOT about giving a correct answer; it’s about getting students to use higher order thinking IN the target language.)

EXAMPLE:

Group Task: Put the following events from the story in order.

A. Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

B. Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

C. Brandon picks up the dog.

D. They see a dog.

E. Brandon and Jake go to the park.

ANSWER KEY:

  1. B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.
  2. A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.
  3. E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.
  4. D- They see a dog.
  5. C- Brandon picks up the dog.

EXAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE:

SHUFFLE: IMPOSSIBLE/ILLOGICAL SEQUENCE (BASED ON INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE):

A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.

D- They see a dog.

C- Brandon picks up the dog.

E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.

B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

D- They see a dog.

A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

C- Brandon picks up the dog.

C- Brandon picks up the dog.

D- They see a dog.

E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.

B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

EXAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE:

SHUFFLE: LOGICAL/POSSIBLE SEQUENCE:

B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.

D- They see a dog.

C- Brandon picks up the dog.

B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.

D- They see a dog.

C- Brandon picks up the dog.

A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

D- They see a dog.

C- Brandon picks up the dog.

E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.

EXAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE:

READ BETWEEN THE LINES: POSSIBLE EVENTS

(Remember, this is an example. You would only ask students to create 1-3 logical / possible events.)

            Brandon calls (for) his mom.

B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

          Brandon is angry and goes to his room.

A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

            Brandon and Jake play videogames.

E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.

      They see people.

D- They see a dog.

        They call the dog.

C- Brandon picks up the dog.

            The dog bites Brandon.

EXAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE:

READ BETWEEN THE LINES: NOT LOGICAL or POSSIBLE EVENTS

(Remember, this is an example. You would only ask students to create 1-3 illogical / impossible events.)

Brandon does not want a dog.

B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

            Brandon does not like Jake.

A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

            Jake is not home. Jake is in the hospital.

E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.

           So Brandon goes home.

D- They see a dog.

           The dog wants to attack Brandon.

C- Brandon picks up the dog.

            Now Brandon likes dogs.

EXAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE:

SPEAK BETWEEN THE LINES: NOT LOGICAL or POSSIBLE EVENTS

B- Brandon asks his mom for a dog.

            Brandon: “Please, Mom. I want a dog!”

            Mom: “No. I don’t want a dog.”

A- Brandon goes to Jake’s house.

Brandon: “Hi Jake.”

Jake: “Hi Brandon.”

Brandon: “What do you want to do?”

Jake: “I want to go to the park.”

E- Brandon and Jake go to the park.

   Brandon: “I like the park.”

            Jake: “Me too.”

D- They see a dog.

Brandon: “Hey! Look!

            Jake: “What?”

            Brandon: “ A DOG!”

            Jake: “Where?”

            Brandon: There!

C- Brandon picks up the dog.

  Jake: “What’s his name?”

            Brandon: “The collar does not have a name.”

 

SPEAK BETWEEN THE LINES: Input-Driven

Assign one phrase on the left to each student in the group. Find the response on the right that best matches your sentence or phrase. Create five 2-line dialogue sets. Then place each set into the sequence in a logical place.

You can add layers to make the activity more interesting / challenging. Add this step:

You must use EVERY line of dialogue and you can only use each one ONCE. That means if you discover that a group member has used the same response, then you must go back to  independently solve the duplication or work collaboratively to solve it.

 

I’ve left this one incomplete so that YOU can try it as a learner.

  1. “I love dogs.”
  2. “I want to go to the park.”
  3. “Look!”
  4. “I want a dog!”
  5. “Let’s go!”

“Me too!”

“Wow!”

“A dog!”

“Are you crazy?”

“Not me!”

CRACK THE CODE

 

Create a secret phrase or code that students must figure out based on various types of clues. The phrase might be based on a message you want to convey to students or it may be based on a topic or story that you’ve been discussing/reading.

EXAMPLE:

Solve this mystery:

The _ _ _ _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _   in the   _ _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _     _ _ _ _    than  ____    _ _ _ _ _ _!

There are seven clues, which must be solved. Depending on group size and time allowed for each breakout, assign one to two per student within each group. (I’ve left them blank. See if you can figure each one out.)


Unscramble: ggesbits: _____________

Another word (synonym) for this word:  _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

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Unscramble: nicesna: ______________

Another word (synonym) for this word:  _ _ _ _

 

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This is a planet where humans live. _ _ _ _ _

 

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Predict: Which word in the following paragraph is the missing word?

Brandon really wants a dog! He wants to convince his mom. He talks to Jake. They weigh their options and consider the consequences. What is the most intelligent plan?!

 

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Unscramble: daidnoitla: _____________

Another word (synonym) for this word:  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

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Solve: 100 x ½ x 10 x ½ x 4 x 1/5 = ________

 

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A common unit of measure that some exaggerate, inflate and celebrate, while others negate, repudiate and fabricate. _ _ _ _ _ _

SOLUTION: The largest dogs in the world weigh more than 200 pounds.

PREDICTIONS

Create a Word from a piece of text that students are about to read. If you’re using a Fluency Matters Comprehension-based™ reader and have the accompanying Teachers’ Guide, it’s likely that the Teacher’s Guide has at least one Word Cloud that is already done for you.

Give each group the word cloud and have the group collaboratively make one prediction about the reading. Then independently, each member of the group must add another describing word and/or a supporting statement to the original prediction using ONLY the words from the Word Cloud. When that class reconvenes, groups should have one prediction statement and a supporting statement for each member of the group.

Strategies for 100 Engagement Banner 1
1 Comment
  • chill1019
    Posted at 12:41h, 27 August

    Thanks for the great ideas!

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