Get Them Out of Their Seats

If you have ever had a class where everyone seemed like they had ADD, you know that movement during a lesson is critical in order to keep the students’ attention on the lesson. Plus, movement can help eliminate discipline problems as well. In an ideal lesson I have three distinct parts, so we shift focus and possibly location in the room at least three times in a period.

While studying a novel, I like to have the students analyze themes, especially prior to writing any extended timed write or the like. Here’s an easy lesson I like using the Carousel Brainstorming strategy.

  1. I bring 7-8 sheets of butcher paper with a theme from the novel/play listed at the top of each sheet.
  2. Next, I break the students into groups of 3-4 (depending on the attendance that day).
  3. Then I have each group stand before a theme-titled sheet.
  4. Next, I have the students choose a scribe who receives a marker (ideally, each group has a different color).
  5. Now, I provide an allotment of time for the students to come up with as many examples as possible to be recorded on the sheet.
  6. Then, once the allotted time expires, the groups move clockwise to the next theme-titled sheet.
  7. The process repeats until every group is back to the original sheet.

The sheets can be displayed in the room whenever necessary, and I really like having the students moving as well as seeing some examples prior to recording their own examples (after the first movement).

I also allow students to write questions they have on the sheets, and they may write down comments about previous answers if they so desire.

Of course, this strategy also works well with different open-ended questions on each sheet, character connections, story parallels, and so on.

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