While I don't typically like to start my day with school announcements (starting with content sets a stronger academic tone), I don't want to forget or skim these announcements at the end of the hour.
My school will host an assessment professional development opportunity soon, and students need to know how their schedules and routines would be impacted. Of course, general announcements turn into a discussion of WHY teachers would want to visit our school in the first place--my students sometimes take for granted their opportunities to retake assessments and learn skills rather than facts which cannot be applied elsewhere.
On our second to last discussion day, most groups function smoothly. Students are now very comfortable discussing rather than reading from logs, though logs are still available for reference. Students' body language shows an increased interest in discussion rather than reading from logs; they lean toward one another rather than sitting back with logs as shields. We've made significant progress.
I again ask for video and log submission in order to give rubric feedback to groups; with so much practice under our belts, they are ready to receive "official" scores and use them for improvement (this discussion is still formative, after all).
Two groups are finished reading today, and the rest will be done on our next discussion day. It's time to introduce the end-of-unit summative project for their novels.
We read over the assignment together, and I emphasize that the targets are the focus, not the video medium. I share my observations of where previous classes succeeded and did not with this project: include all targets; pull in other students to help on your own time; and make sure you can upload to YouTube or Vimeo.
Finally, I ask students to submit a request to work solo or with a group on scrap paper:
I again give students time to read, knowing that many students won't read at home if they aren't engaged or at least nearly done from reading in class. Students get comfortable and push further into their novels.