I was curious about the idea that movement allows for a more productive and engaged community of learners, so I decided to try the idea out with my tenth grade Honors English students.
For a discussion activity with To Kill a Mockingbird, I separated my students into six groups.
This was my control group.
- Group 1: Radley Progression
- Group 2: Town of Maycomb
- Group 3: Scout’s Naive Nature
- Group 4: Religion
- Group 5: Atticus’ Role
- Group 6: ForeshadowingSixth Hour:
This was my experimental group.
- Red: Radley Progression
- Blue: Town of Maycomb
- Yellow: Scout’s Naive Nature
- Purple: Religion
- Green: Atticus’ Role
- Black: Foreshadowing
I assigned each of these students a color group. We then traveled to a classroom next door that had rolling desks. The students found the desks that corresponded with their color groups.
At this point, we were through about chapter 6 in the novel, so I wanted to make sure these themes and ideas were addressed thoroughly. I let the students spend the first half of the period meeting with their groups.
Fifth Hour students wrote their examples, quotations, and ideas on large sheets of construction paper.
Sixth Hour took notes in their notebooks independently, but talked as a group.
When they were done meeting with their groups, Fifth Hour shared their findings with the class in a presentation format. Students listened, copied down information while sitting on the floor or their desks, then I posted the information on a supply closet wall so they could look back on it later [see photo to the right].
Sixth Hour then broke away from their groups and found people of every other color to match up with. (This was harder than it looked!)
They then shared information with their new group members, who were from all different colors and topics. Not only did this give them more responsibility, but the movement was just plain fun!
I even got to step in and talk, take on topics, ask questions, and give pointers! [see gallery below!]
What I noticed after the activity, was that students seemed more engaged and had retained information in Sixth Hour (my experimental, rolling-chair group) than in Fifth Hour. I honestly think that because of the movement, flexibility, and collaboration, this project was more successful in Sixth Hour!
I’d just like to put a note out there for teachers–
discussion and classroom activities don’t always have to be the same old routine! Something as simple as switching up desks, moving about, or having two different groups meeting and sharing information can spice up a lesson and help students to learn in new, fun ways!
To view the complete lesson, click Mid-Book Collaborative Discussion – Let’s Get Moving!.
To view/download the lesson plan, click here: To Kill a Mockingbird Mid-Book Collaborative Discussion Lesson.