Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Table Top Twitter

I have had the opportunity to see Bob Probst and Kylene Beers in action a few times and each time has been amazing. Using the Notice and Note Strategies in my classroom with my students has been amazing this year and I have seen great things come from using them. One of the things that Bob introduced me to this year was Table Top Twitter (he called it the Poster Activity, but I like TTT better... haha). This is such an easy thing to do and something that my students BEGGED me to do after they did it the first time. 

This activity allows the students to interact with each other without talking- it all has to be done in writing. They are able to voice their thoughts and opinions (and even get into heated arguments) all while completely silent. The key to this activity is the selection you choose. You can choose a short article, a selection from the textbook, an excerpt from a novel, a poem or any other text to do this activity. The text that you choose must evoke emotion or require your students to think so that the motivation is there for them to write about what they are reading.

Materials Needed: 
- Chart paper (or butcher paper)
- Markers
- Text 
- Time

Here's how it works: 
1. Glue the text selection in the center of a large piece of paper. You can use chart paper or butcher paper, but you must be able to write on it (poster board isn't always ideal for that with pencils). I typically use markers so that it is colorful, but you can choose what works best for your classroom.

2. When the students come in, have them seperate into small groups (I had no more than 6 in a group and no less than 3). 

3. Explain that they will read the article that is pasted on the poster and respond to it. They can draw arrows to sections, underline, or mark on the text as well. As they are reading, they will respond to what they have read with their thoughts and opinions or even questions that come to mind. Students will also respond to each others comments and questions after they have read the text selection. 

4. Set a timer and remind students that there is no talking- only moving around to read the text and what their peers have written so that they can respond. I usually gave mine about 7 minutes depending on the size of the text. If they were still reading and responding, we kept going. While the students are reading, writing, and responding- YOU ARE TOO. Jump from group to group to see what your students are thinking, redirect if needed, and add your own thoughts. My students would race over after I had left to see what I had to say (like mine was soooooo profound).

5. When time is up, have a class discussion about what was read. If you have a large class, you may want to limit this to one comment per student. Have them pick out their favorite (either their own or a peers). Most of the "discussion" has already been had, but there may be some comments that need to be expanded on or explained. 

* Have different pieces of text about the same topic at each TTT and when the timer goes off, have the groups silently switch to the new table and complete the activity. You could also allow them to movie around from piece to piece if you don't mind a bit of movement! 

* This could be an easy way to review what you have taught in math to assess their learning. Put one problem on the table and have the students work out the problem together without talking. 

* Instead of a piece of text, you could have one statement that students must respond to using the knowledge of what you have been covering in a unit of study. ("The war of independence waged by the American colonies against Britain influenced political ideas and revolutions around the globe, as a fledgling, largely disconnected nation won its freedom from the greatest military force of its time." - from History.com)

There are a great many ways that this can be adapted to fit your needs, so have fun with it! Let me know what you do in your classroom because I am always looking for new ideas! Here are some of our finished products! 

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