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Conver-stations | Inquiry Lesson Plan Strategy

Updated: Jun 14


Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

The What

Conver-stations allow students to discuss topics in constantly changing small groups. Use this format in response to complex discussion prompts or sources, including photos, videos, audio recordings, or written text.

The How

Download the "Conver-stations Guidelines" poster to support the activity.

1. Arrange students into groups of 4. Within each group, students number off 1-4. Set the norms for group discussions, such as:

  • Being supportive of each other’s ideas with sentence stems (ex. “Yes, and...” or “I hear that you think... but I think...”)

  • Allowing room for everyone to participate (ex. 3 Before Me) and inviting quieter group members to share their thoughts

  • Sticking to the assigned topic of discussion

2. Give each group a different discussion question or source and allow them to discuss. (3-5 minutes)


3. Direct students who are 1s or 2s to move to different groups. All other students remain with the original group.

  • Groups welcome the new members and share the group’s discussion question or source.

  • Discussion continues. New group members integrate ideas from their original group into their current discussion.

4. After a few minutes of discussion have passed, direct students who are 3s or 4s to move to different groups. All other students remain with the original group.

  • Groups welcome the new members and discussion continues, integrating new ideas.

5. Continue rotations with the group composition constantly changing (moving 1s and 3s, or 2s and 4s, for example) until the desired number of rotations have occurred.


6. Debrief the protocol.

  • Students share what went well and identify opportunities for improvement.

  • Use this opportunity to set group goals for future collaborative discussions.

Curriculum

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