Featured Academic News of the Week 

December 2, 2022
Mr. Lee Randazzo, History and Science Teacher

Sometimes during class I like to put more emphasis on students learning from each other and/or leading discussions.  A great way to do this is through a “spider web” discussion.  The “spider web” is a metaphor representing how speakers and responses are passed back & forth in a group.  This is a graded assignment (even a test) in the class for that day.  Before the discussion, students do research on the topic and prepare their opinions and evidence supporting their opinions.  Then on the day of the discussion the teacher asks a big open ended question and the class takes over (with the teacher saying very little, if anything at all).  In order to earn full points on the assignment (test) students need to do much more than share relevant information.  They must also be nice to each other; encourage the entire class to participate; not have one person dominate the discussion; build upon each other’s comments; and be active and engaged.  I’ve already done a spider web discussion with the 8th grade class.  They had to reflect upon the experiences of a lowly soldier in the Continental Army led by George Washington.  By the end of the year all my classes will have a similar experience (with different topics of course). 

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