To get accustomed to using Today’s Meet before incorporating the following lesson plan, English teachers in their respective PLCs will go through the following process:
- Watch the Today’s Meet tutorial video to get introduced to the tool
- Use Today’s Meet to participate in a large group discussion in which questions are asked/answered about the platform, and brainstorming occurs for possible uses.
- Break into small groups and in Today’s Meet discuss how discussion in used in all its various ways in their classrooms.
- Share the transcript of their small group Today’s Meet chats with the other small groups.
- After reading all the transcripts, the group will come together as a whole to discuss the benefits, pitfalls, and usefulness of using Today’s Meet to facilitate discussion.
Enhanced Lesson Plan using Today’s Meet:
- One of the key deficits we notice in freshmen English students in their ability to mine deeper levels of meaning in a text through discussion. As we know, one of the best ways to learn about a subject is through articulating ideas to another person, getting their immediate feedback, and adjusting our ideas based on this back and forth exchange. We know that students enjoy talking to each other but often to not possess the necessary skills to move beyond surface level conversation. Thus, they do not reap the full benefits of this necessary and deeply beneficial activity. This lesson is designed to help students improve their discussion skills and see the benefits of quality discussion through peer review and self-assessment. Students will be using Today’s Meet, an online discussion tool, to engage in small group discussions in which the main goal is to provide a transcript that shows evidence of deepening discussion skills.
- Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions
- Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
- Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
- Student Benchmarks:
- The student will be able to advance and deepen the discussion by using some form of provided sentence starters in 85% of their contributions.
- The student will be able to use evidence from the texts to reinforce claims for 75% of the claims put forth.
- The student will be able to respond to claims using some form of the appropriate sentence starter 90% of the time.
- Day to Day Learning Activities:
- Day 1: Students will be shown a transcript from a previous discussion in Today’s Meet under which no criteria were given. This is their natural, current state of discussion. Students will be given a series of questions in which they self-assess the level of depth they were able to achieve with this discussion. When given the criteria to measure this discussion, they will see that their initial discussion leaves plenty of room for improvement (Goal/Task Analysis). After this self-assessment students will be shown what they are expected to achieve in their next Today’s Meet discussion (use of sentence starters to deepen conversation, textual evidence, and responding respectfully and effectively) and then write a short response about challenges they expect to meet in this activity. Some students will share these responses out loud at the end of class and we will discuss.
- Day 2: Students will be placed into groups of 4 or 5 and placed into Today’s Meet rooms that I have created. I will give students prompts that ask them to make connections between texts we have studied in our thematic unit. Students will have access to our Google Classroom page in which the required sentences starters can be found as well as electronic copies of every text we have consumed so far. Students will have approximately 10 minutes to discuss each question (there will be 4 prompts) and will be directed to utilize the goals/tasks outlined yesterday.
- Day 3: Students will conduct peer reviews of another group’s discussion. They will each be assigned a specific student to assess based on the established criteria. Students will write up an evaluation in which they cite specific examples from the discussion in assigning appropriate scores. Additionally, I will enter each chat room and give a few overall impressions for each group with suggestions for improvement.
- Day 4: Students will repeat the process from Tuesday. They will have the same groups (for rapport purposes), but will only be given two prompts. This is so they can spend the rest of the class time conducting a self-assessment. This will be similar to yesterday’s peer review, only they will be assessing their own discussion skills. I will provide comments on their self-assessment over the course of the next two days.
- Day 5: We will have taken time in class to consume another text for our thematic unit – this will give me time to comment on their self-assessment. Students have previously been told that they will have one final discussion in their groups, but this time it will be for a summative test grade. The steps for day 2 will be repeated. Again, there will only be two prompts, but students will be expected to achieve a level of depth to these questions previously not reached. The only time constraint will be the length of the period.
- To assess student learning of content I will give feedback on the initial group discussion and individual feedback on the students’ self-assessment. Finally, I will give an individual grade and feedback on the final discussion. To assess the effectiveness of the unit’s design, students will again use Today’s Meet to discuss the effectiveness of the method of discussion, sentence starters, and their own improvement. I will read the transcripts from these discussions and use the feedback to revise future discussion assignments using Today’s Meet.