I begin class by assigning the task for the day with a thorough explanation. Students will work in groups of 3-4 to create a short presentation of up to two minutes about one of the propaganda techniques that we worked on in class the day before. It is expected to be a very simple presentation, just to provide reinforcement and another exposure to each of the concepts. I have the Peer Teaching Task displayed on the SmartBoard for them as I explain to them.
The presentation is expected to the following things:
By having the written/anecdotal example, the more visual and auditory learners are being reached, and the visual example reaches the more visual learners. Creating these examples also utilizes different areas of the students' creativity and processing. While it is a very simple task, it is also multi-layered as well to support cognitive development.
Students will then be given 35 minutes, with the timer clearly visible on the Smart Board for them to keep track with, to complete the three assigned sections of the task. I do not tell the students what process to follow, nor do I assign group members any specific portion of the work. I try to make sure they have some autonomy and that they work together effectively to determine roles and get the task done. There are some times that I want to push students outside of their comfort zones, and there are times like this where I want them to simply create the best product they can, which often is the result of each group member focusing on an area of the task best suited to his or her skills and strengths.
As the groups are working, I am moving between them and monitoring progress. If groups are struggling for any reason, I am there to provide some extra support for them to help them along. Again, a great product is very important here, so I work hard to meet the needs of all groups. The most common issue during this process is simply having the group agree on what example(s) to use. My standard advice during such disagreements (if they can be called that) is to include all of the ideas, as long as they are accurate. I point out to them that the task states to do a minimum of one, but does not give a limit. I leave that situation with a cautionary note to the students to be careful not to overdo it in one area and neglect another, or to focus so much on one area that they run out of time before completing the entire task.
When the timer goes off, I randomly select groups to present. Each group comes to the front of the room and shares what they have created with the class. Staying true to the protocols set at the beginning of class, each of the groups is given a two minute time slot in which to present. I have been carefully providing support and feedback when necessary for the groups in order to confidently believe that the information that each is presenting is accurate and will not muddy the waters at this early stage. This helps to keep the process on time and on track. During each presentation, I have the students add examples to their notes from the previous day, as it is important to have multiple exemplars for future study and review while growing that resource.