Set Up the Hotseat!

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SWBAT prepare active, student-led discussion in which their character and theme insights propel the student interviews into important areas of textual inquiry.

Big Idea

Student-centered discussions give the students the ability practice speaking and listening which leads to stronger understanding of the text and its themes.

Introduction to Setting up the Hotseat

We take a day to frame the hoteat discussion activity because investing this time gains better participation from the students.  Not only do they negotiate leadership of the classroom in important ways, but they also ALL have a chance to bring something important to say to the discussion, and that enables each student to say something worth saying. 

New Discussion Norms

10 minutes

The focus of this lesson is to have students lead an inquiry into the text by questioning characters in role.  I plan to have five sessions in the next two days during which students ask questions of the student acting as a character on the hotseat.  The goal is twofold: to facilitate uptake, so that students will be asking and answering questions of one another along key lines of inquiry in the book (SL.9-10.1), and to allow students to engage in a discussion around character development (RL.9-10.3).  Yesterday, the students prepared notes, and thus I've checked that their questions and notes follow an inquiry into key elements of the story, both character and thematic developments.  

Today's focus, then, will be on setting the norms of interaction, of getting students ready to adopt a different speech genre--with students in control, asking and answering questions--than they are used to.

As a result, we will begin by talking about the norms of a positive discussion (SL.9-10.1b), and capturing a t-chart. Just a few minutes of firming up the norms is all of the reminder that some students need.  

Hotseat Prep in Groups

25 minutes

After the initial preparation and reminder of norms, the students meet in larger groups to prepare one student to sit on the hotseat.  I will tell them that the purpose of this group is to help the person sitting on the hotseat to feel comfortable and ready for the questions that the group will ask.  The rest of the class can ask follow-up questions, and these may take many forms and may be surprising, but the initial questions are intended to be an easy "lob pitch" that is an easy home run for the person on the hotseat.  

Begin Hotseat

10 minutes

The students will then begin their hotseat by having one student ascend to the hotseat and answer the questions from his or her prep group in the role of his/her character (RL.9-10.3 and SL.9-10.6).  After these prepared questions/answers, the rest of the class can ask follow-up questions that may take the conversation into unforeseen areas (SL.9-10.1). 

The goal will be to keep 100% of the students focused on the hotseat activity, with frequent follow-up questions asked and answered.