TeachingChannel is one of the best teacher how-to resources I have ever seen. I find myself returning to this massive, TeachingChannel Logoand growing, the bank of in-class, real-world PD resources. I once reviewed TeachingChannel as a whole, but TeachingChannel is too massive and important (not synonyms in this case) to leave at that. So, I will review themes and groups of videos moving forward.  That is how important TeachingChannel is to me, and I hope it will be to you. So, why do I like the resource so much? Each video is supported by guides that point out Common Core connections, lesson objectives, questions to consider, related video links, teacher profile, and even sometimes handouts for your own students. Even further, each highlighted teacher/school has information on the school in terms of the school population and spending per pupil. If that isn’t enough, most of the videos are amazingly concise, being between 3-9 minutes in length. Really, what is there not to like? Today I review a group of three videos (link below) builds around facilitating student discussions. Class discussions are always challenging in terms of control, direction, and pulling out of them what we hope students will learn. Yet we find ourselves as a profession seeking more effective ways to facilitate discussions. I believe we do seek discussions because we understand the potential academic and social/emotional benefits of doing so. Some of my fondest memories of college life are the café discussions with classmates, chewing over content and skills, debating and arguing, and generally sharing the learning experience. These moments still have a powerful hold on my imagination. I wish for my students to benefit from a similar atmosphere of intellectual and collegial sharing. The three discussion models highlighted are each one unique, yet they share a balance of teacher-directed structure and student freedom, holding these two elements in tension. The art of teaching is when the science of teaching is applied in actual classrooms, and each one of the three models demonstrates the fine art of the teaching at its best. The whole class model is the most organic, allowing students to direct discussions through the teacher’s facilitation. This model requires the most confidence on the part of the teacher. If letting go of control and having discussions is a challenge, perhaps you may wish to try on of the two other models, depending upon your comfort level. The Conver-Stations model offers more structure while allowing large class discussion facilitation by rotating a fraction of the students from group to group. This maximizes sharing while minimizing the lost time in transitions. The pinwheel model offers the most structure, with each student being assigned a role to play. Rotations with the center seats give a fishbowl feel to this model while providing plenty of structure.

Simple Uses?

Classroom discussions most move toward student-centeredness in order for students to best hold onto the learning. These vehicles get you there. All classroom discussions should be structured for success.

Do I Plan To Use It?

I do use these models

Commitment And Learning Curve

Low to Medium

Best For





Whole-class, Student-Centered Discussions: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/strategies-for-student-centered-discussion Pinwheel Discussions: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/high-school-literature-lesson-plan Conver-Stations: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/conver-stations-strategy