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Teaching Channel Video: “Wingman” Is A Great Small Group Discussion Activity

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I’m always trying to learn new classroom discussion strategies, particularly using the sequence of big-to-small-to-big (pose question,assignment and sequence to the entire class; have them break into small groups; then come back to the entire class to share and discuss). This kind of strategy works great for English Language Learners and, I think, for just about everybody else, too.

So I was excited yesterday to see this short video on The Teaching Channel (embedded below and here’s the direct link to it at The Channel).

I hadn’t heard of the “Wingman” strategy before (call me “PC,” but I’d probably call it “Wingperson.” Basically, students go into small groups (for example, a group of three) and one person is designated as the “Wingman.” That person’s job is to listen to the discussion between the classmates in the group and use a sheet to evaluate the quality of the work (for example, if they are using certain sentence starters or if they are talking excessively) and then to write down their own thoughts and summarize what occurred. Then, that student can provide a report to the class.

There are lots of variations, of course. If you register at the Teaching Channel (it’s free and easy), you then gain access to some nice materials, including a sample Wingman worksheet.

I like it a lot.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources Sharing The Best Practices For Fruitful Classroom Discussions.

Do you have any other suggestions for good big or small group discussion strategies for me to add to that list?

Here’s the video:

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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