This lesson was done in conjunction with social studies. We are studying natural and man-made resources, so I decided to incorporate visual media with student discussion in order to address the needs of visual and linguistic learners. I found the video on YouTube and created a ‘Talk and Draw’ sheet to guide students through the discussion and video. The discussion strategy used was 'piggybacking'. This helps students practice listening skills and build on the thoughts of others.
At the beginning of the lesson, I told students we were going to create pictures, or sketches, to help us remember information as we watched the video. Creating nonlinguistic representations helps visual and tactile learners to think about and recall what they have learned. I also told them they were going to discuss today’s learning with a partner and learn a new discussion strategy called ‘piggybacking.’ Piggybacking involves listening to others and linking to each others' talk to clarify or elaborate on ideas. I modeled using talking chips to piggyback on what was said by someone else. Talking chips have sentence starters that are used as a scaffold until students are able to piggyback on their own.
I provided time for students to practice piggybacking before working independently. I wrote the rules on the board and we read them aloud. In pairs, students practiced piggybacking as they discussed the differences between natural and man-made resources. (We had learned this concept the day before.) I set the timer for 30 seconds to allow ‘think time’ so students could gather their thoughts. Then each pair is given 1 minute to talk and piggyback; 30 seconds per student. I used a manage mat to select which student talked first.
I also modeled watching the video and pausing to sketch pictures to help me recall information. I emphasized drawing sketches versus creating detailed pictures.
Students worked with their partner to complete the Talk & Draw sheet. I paused the video at selected stopping points to allow students to draw notes and discuss. To assess whether or not students were listening, they were directed to write a sentence on the T&D sheet something their partner had said.
As I circulated and listened in on student discussions, I discovered a few students had a difficult time listening. They were not able to recall and write something their partner had said. This was particularly true of one of my special needs students. His partner had to repeat what he’d said at least four times. To accommodate him, I placed him in a group of three so that another student would be able to repeat what was said. That meant one student did not have to repeat himself or herself multiple times. They were also directed to allow him to write the sentence as they repeated it so that he did not have to remember an entire sentence as he wrote it. Students at this stage are very helpful and thoughtful, so they were patient and made sure he had written the sentence before moving on.
A rubric was used to assess how well students did with the piggybacking strategy. Students assessed themselves in order to analyze their performance during the discussion. Sharing with students the expectations for performance increases the likelihood of students meeting the objective. Students were surprisingly honest. Even more surprising was students scored themselves lowest in listening. They recognized this about themselves stated they will work to improve during the next discussion. They also assess their partners. I thought they would go easy on their friends, but they were honest here, too. I also assessed them using the rubric. Student and teacher scores were very similar.
I decided to use piggybacking to wrap up the social studies lesson. Students discussed each photograph on the wall chart with various resources to determine how people use them. I reminded them to piggyback on the comments of their partner. They were allowed to use the talking chips sentence starters, if needed. I did not structure it by using the timer as I want students to become accustomed to using the strategy as a normal part of discussion.