The Teacher's Guide to Leading Student-Centered Discussions: Talking About Texts in the Classroom / Edition 1

The Teacher's Guide to Leading Student-Centered Discussions: Talking About Texts in the Classroom / Edition 1

by Michael S. Hale, Elizabeth A. City

Engage and enlighten students by skillfully guiding them through thought-provoking classroom discussions using these straightforward strategies.See more details below


Engage and enlighten students by skillfully guiding them through thought-provoking classroom discussions using these straightforward strategies.

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SAGE Publications
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Edition description:
New Edition
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Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.40(d)

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Meet the Author

Michael S. Hale has served as a teacher, principal, professional developer, professor, university administrator, and educational software executive. His passion for student inquiry has resulted in many years of experience with participant-centered discussions in a wide variety of settings. A National Paideia Faculty member, he has worked with many teachers and students to develop the knowledge and skills to engage in idea- and text-based conversations. He currently spends most of his days as Vice President for Curriculum Consulting with VitalSource Technologies in Raleigh, NC, where he works with educators to transform didactic materials into more interactive digital formats. His formal education includes a B.A. in Philosophy from Auburn University and a M.A. and Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina.

Elizabeth A. City has served as a teacher, principal, and instructional coach, primarily in North Carolina and Massachusetts. In addition to enjoying countless student-centered discussions in her own classroom, as a National Paideia Faculty member, she has worked with teachers and students across the country as they have learned to facilitate and participate in text-based conversations. Much of Liz’s current work centers on supporting principals and teachers in creating collaborative communities where rich dialogue and learning for both adults and children is the norm. She is a member of the Senior Faculty of Boston’s School Leadership Institute, where she teaches courses in using data, learning and teaching, and professional development to Boston Public School Principal Fellows. She is currently working on her doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors
Part I: Getting Started: The "Science" of Leading Discussions
1. The Fundamentals of Facilitating
Why Have Student Centered Discussions?
Essential Ingredients of a Student-Centered, Text-based Discussion, aka “Seminar”
The Architecture of a Discussion
Frequently Asked Questions and Tips for Beginners
Tips for Beginners
PART II: Becoming a Skillful Facilitator: The “Art and Magic” of Leading Discussions
2. Safety
Recognizing Safety Issues
Tone of the Discussion
Atmosphere of Safety and Respect
Creating a Culture of Inquiry
The Danger of Sarcasm
Feedback During Seminar
A Climate of Respect
3. Authentic Participation
Recognizing Authentic Participation Issues
Attention-Seeking Participation
Text-Focused Participation
Reflective Activity
Assessing Pauses in Conversation
Facilitator is Not the Focus
4. Challenge
Recognizing Challenge Issues
Assessing Understanding
Off-Topic Conversation
Repetitive Ideas and Statements
Challenging Ideas
5. Ownership
Recognizing Ownership Issues
Avoiding Anarchy
Facilitator Releasing Control
Student-Driven Discussions
6. The Seminar Decision-Making Model
Steps of the Decision-Making Process
Identifying the Issue
Identifying Possible Causes
Match to Primary Fulcrum
Identifying and Applying Possible Strategies
Determine Effectiveness of Strategy and Next Steps
PART III: Improving Student-Centered Discussions
7. Strategies for Ongoing Improvement Across All the Fulcrums
Seminar Mapping
Teaching the Fulcrums to Students
Seminar Folders
Peer Planning
Peer Coaching
Case Study
8. Strategies for Improving Specific Fulcrums
Seminar Ground Rules
Assigned Seats
Yellow Card, Red Card
Write Before You Talk
Role Play
Stop and Try Again
Building Safety Outside Seminar
Role Play
Have Seminars More Frequently
Ask The Students
Authentic Participation
Heads-Up Question
Round Robin
Inviting Quiet People to Speak
Reflective Writing
Follow-up Writing
Positive Reinforcement
Question Again
Pair Share/Write During Seminar
Map Connections
Where in the Text?
Ask Follow-Up Questions
Paraphrase and Probe
Pair-Share/Write during Seminar
Choosing a Different Type of Text
Good Questions
Relinquish the Reins
Wait Time
Favorite Text Phenomenon
Eye Contact
Don’t Be Afraid—Drive
Look Around the Circle
Resource A – Training Guides
Using the Fulcrums for Professional Development
Working with Groups of Teachers
New Facilitators
Experienced Facilitators
Working on Your Own/Working with Individual Teachers
Individual Teachers
Resource B – Reproducibles

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