For the last time, I promise, I've tweaked the focus of my action research. My teaching partner is doing a lot of create a back channel in our classroom. We've done this six times to date. Each time, we've used TodaysMeet to open back channels for student discussion. We're wrapping up our unit on Africa and our reading of the novel, A Long Walk to Water. This back channel was used the first two times to open discussion and reflect while watching the BBC documentary on the Lost Boys. I've become really excited about this new back channel. I'm planning to change, for the last time (really), my feedback to be structured around the back channel.
The first back channel occurred on Friday, 4/11 with teacher moderators and the movie only. Our second back channel occurred on Monday, 4/21 with student moderators, teacher moderators, and the movie. We quickly changed our morning plan to include four instead of two moderators. In our model, we have two home teams, one hour and twenty minutes, and two teachers. Originally, we selected one student from each home team to check off student participation on a class roster and prompt conversation. It became evident that these two tasks were too much for one student (while also, hopefully, getting something from the film). In our second class, we selected four moderators (two from each home team); one student was responsible for checking off participation while the other student prompted the conversation and policed kindness--one set per home team.
In our third back channel session, it was an option. We wanted students to engage in a class discussion. For the students who wanted, they engaged in a live discussion in one classroom while the quieter students engaged in a TodaysMeet discussion in the other room.
After our meeting with Susan, we adapted once more to create a fishbowl--inner students having a live discussion, outer students engaging on TodaysMeet. As the first time, I felt it was a success. It was definitely a "spur of the moment" decision that could use some tweaking as far as set up and expectations.
I plan to gather student feedback tomorrow around their successes and challenges with these models. I would also like to use student feedback to set up norms and protocol around these back channel discussions.