Student Sharing Techniques (Spark Student Motivation)

Joanne's linky always gets me thinking every weekend about what I do to motivate my students.  I am not big on prizes, candy, and all the "stuff" because I really want my kids to be intrinsically motivated and not always expect to be given things for doing things.  But, of course I still want them to have fun and love school.

Today I thought I'd share a couple ways to have students discuss, share, or work together in groups.  These techniques are generally a lot more engaging for my second graders than the traditional think-pair-share, which gets old after a while. (Sorry, I don't have any pictures because I don't take them of my students and that's what I'd have to do for this.)

Inner-Outer-Circle:  Have half of your students form a big circle on the outside and the other half form a smaller circle on the inside.  Each student should be facing another student.  Give the students something to discuss and set the timer for a minute or however long you need.  Sometimes I'll just say things like tell your partner as many verbs as you can think of, or explain what main idea is, etc.  Then, have one of the circles rotate.  Now each child has a new partner and you can start again!  Also, sometimes I assign who does the talking...outer person talks, inner person listens, then we switch.

Folded Line:  I just heard about this a couple weeks ago.  It's almost the same as above, but in a line.  However, I tried it with my kids and they think it's something totally new so I'm going for it.  I did it with task cards.  I gave each child a task card.  They line up facing a partner.  Each person has to read their partner's task card and give the answer.  The partner tells them if they are right.  Then we "fold the line" by having the people on the ends go around and everyone slide down.  Now everyone has a new parter and they do the same thing.  I like the repetition with the task cards because by the end, everyone is sure of the answer on their card, even if they weren't to begin with, plus they had the practice of all the others.

Rotating Groups:  For this, I give each group an activity, like a sort or something.  Last week we matched matched text features. Each desk group starts on their task.  But before they finish I tell the groups to rotate.  Now they have to complete the same task at the next group.  We keep going through the five groups until they get back to their own, and hopefully the task is complete. Again, I like this because of the repetition.  It's good for vocabulary and things like that.  They are doing the same thing over and over, but don't realize it because they're having fun.  By the fifth time they do it, it's easy.

Fishbowl:  Some of the kids sit in the middle and discuss while everyone else sits around the outside and watches.  I've done this before with persuasive writing by having kids sit in the middle and try to persuade me to do something.  The kids have to really like what's going on in the middle in order for it to keep their attention as listeners though.  Have you found a good use for this technique?

Give 1, Get 1:  I haven't tried this one, but I did it at a training last week and I think my kids could do it.  Basically you tell the kids to write down something (like write down three adjectives).  Then they get up and walk around the room talking to the other kids to see what they wrote down.  They are supposed to give one of their adjectives to each kid they talk to, and get one in return to add to their paper.  So, by the end they should have a lengthy list.

Have you tried any of these techniques or do you have any more for me?!  Share what works for you!
In other news, I'm participating in two awesome events this weekend.
A group of second grade bloggers has come together to bring you a sale for this weekend.  We have put over 60 items on sale for just one dollar!  Click the sale button above to see all of the link ups.  Below are the products I have on sale for one dollar this weekend.
I am also participating in the Loving Literacy Facebook hop.  Each reading teacher has a free product related to a favorite book on their blog this weekend.  
On my blog, you will find a product to use with The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting.  There is even a Rafflecopter to win a copy of the book!  Click below to see the post.


  1. I just learned about the inner/outer circle one last month but have not tried it yet. Thanks for explaining these techniques - there is nothing worse than people just saying the strategy and having to pretend you know what it is. Can't wait to try some of these!!

  2. I use the fishbowl activity for Socratic seminars. I pair students inside the circle with students outside the circle. The outside partner takes notes on what their partner did well and offers suggestions for improvement. We switch roles half way through.

    Also, in your Fold the Line activity, you could ask students to swap cards with their partners every so often so they are exposed to even more questions rather than keeping the same one all the way through. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing all those wonderful sharing/discussion strategies! Anything that engages all students is very motivating! I'm going to have to try the folded line-I like that one! Are you familiar with the Kagan Structures?
    Head Over Heels For Teaching


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