Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Read, DRAW, and Discuss: A New, Easy Classroom Discussion Starter

I thought I'd write this up because I've had great success in both Latin I and II with this and I honestly made it up on the fly one day when I simply wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my classes, didn't feel like I had enough planned, wanted to stretch the lesson out a bit, AND wanted to make sure we got more repetitions in without it feeling too forced.

So instead of doing a basic Read, Discuss, and Draw (you can see a quick overview of that activity here), I did choral reading (I read a sentence or clause in Latin, then we translate together as a class) with students over small sections of the stories we were focusing on. Then I had them draw on white boards to represent the scenes. The goal was to have them show the entire section of the story in one scene, throwing in as much detail as possible. If they were too stressed by this, of course, I allowed students to break up their drawings into multiple panels.

Then I asked students to volunteer to let me show their pictures to the class. You'd be surprised how many students are willing to do this, and which students are willing to do this. I accept any and all pictures, and do my best to interpret them well. I point at the images and use this as a means of getting more repetitions. Students are eager to see each others' art, so the activity is naturally compelling (as long as you don't do it too often) and so if I show 3 or so pictures with each section of the story, I can easily get a good amount of repetition in without sounding repetitious, which is important, because sounding repetitious is death to student attention spans.

After showing the pictures and discussing them, we move on to the next section of the story!

This keeps everything broken down and comprehensible to the students as well. It's a great way to find out who knows the story, via the reading out loud and by then watching what they draw and whether they capture the entire section of the story. It also lets you focus in on anything they struggled with afterward when you are discussing the drawings.

So, tl/dr:
1. Read a section of story together
2. Students draw the section
3. You use some student drawings to spark discussion and repetition

One of the best things is that this activity doesn't require any preparation and has a fairly high yield in terms of engagement and repetitions!