Every good lesson needs a great introduction. You need to find some way to get students thinking and prepare them to engage a new topic.
A Think-Pair-Share activity is perfect for this type of introductory or transition situation. The students individually contemplate the topic, expand their response with a partner, and share with the whole class in a brief discussion.
The Method: What to Do
The students need some kind of prompt to respond to. This could be a quote, an image, a short video clip, or a question.
This prompt should be broad enough that students can respond to it based on the knowledge they already have, but it should engage them in thinking about the upcoming topic.
Once the students have the prompt, they should take about one minute to think about it. In this time, they should consider the prompt and jot down any ideas that come to mind. These don’ have to be complete sentences – ideas, fragments, and notes are just fine.
After the individual thinking time is up, the students pair up. For the sake of time and convenience, students should talk to someone that is directly next to them. The partners should share their original thoughts on the prompt and briefly discuss the topic. This partner time should last two to three minutes.
Finally, bring the class together and allow several pairs to share. This shouldn’t be a long class discussion. Give a variety of students a chance to share, but keep the discussion short. It should only last a few minutes – three to five.
Once the short discussion is done, segue into the introduction and activity part of the lesson.
When to Use This Method: Introductions and Transitions
Think-Pair-Share is perfect as an introduction or a transition. This activity makes the perfect Do Now for a class – it sets the tone, zones the students in on a topic, and provides a basis for later instruction.
It can also be used as a transition or short break in a period.
If you’re giving a long lecture (longer than ten minutes), a Think-Pair-Share can be used to break up the lecture delivery. After ten minutes or so, give the students a question to consider about the first part of the lecture. After the Think-Pair-Share is done, continue with the next part of the lecture.
In block periods, this is also a vitally useful too. Students can’ do the same thing for 80 minutes – you need to break it up into chunks. A Think-Pair-Share is a quick and easy way to transition from one part of the lesson to another.
Keys to Success
A Think-Pair-Share can be useful, but you need to implement it well.
Students should be well-trained in the format. If they don’ manage their time and follow the appropriate steps, the activity can be a waste of time. Instead of engaging in the new topic, they’ll spend five minutes chatting and wasting time.
Make sure the prompt is meaty enough to respond to. It can’ be a simple factual question. It needs to have multiple dimensions and multiple answers. Otherwise there’s no room for discussion.
Here are some example prompts.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” What does this mean? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
In the song Southern Man, Neil Young sang “Southern Man / when will you / pay them back? / I heard screamin’ / and bullwhips cracking / How long? How long?” What is Neil Young referring to? Do you agree with his point or not? Why?
This activity can be adapted for any topic and any subject area with a little imagination. Start using Think-Pair-Share and make sure you introduce your lessons well.
No Comments Yet
You can be the first to comment!