Today's class begins with the video below demonstrating "home court advantage" and a discussion about how our classroom is "home court" where everyone gets supported just as we support our home teams in sports.
After the warm up video and discussion, students take a copy of the membership grid from the caddy. I explain that our lesson today has two purposes. We are going to practice good discussion and students will get to know their community. I briefly explain how the grid works and allow them to label the rows with the name of each person at their table.
Then, I display six questions on the SMART board. I explain to students that as a group they must work together to decide which five they will answer. Below are the six I used this year.
What was the best day of your life so far? Why?
What was your best school year to this point? Why?
What is your favorite type of music? Why?
What is your favorite amusement park ride? Why?
Who is your favorite character (book or otherwise) Why?
What do you want to be doing in ten years? Why?
Before allowing students to begin I discuss what it means to actively participate in discussion. I emphasize noise level, making eye contact, one person speaking at a time, and asking follow up questions to elicit more information.
To help we'll use the acronym SLANT.
Look at the person talking
Act like you care
Nod your head in acknowlegement
Take turns speaking
Then, I allow students to begin as I facilitate and listen.
During wrap up, I will bring the class back together and ask that they practice a two "home court" skills. First, they must give each person at their table a high five for the great work they did today. Secondly, I explain that anytime they see someone struggling to feel confident in front of class or notice someone not being a team player, they are to remind them that this is "home court" territory by simply saying, "home court". To practice this the class will repeat the phrase "home court" five times with me.