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The best classes have a life of their own, powered by student-led conversations that explore texts, ideas, and essential questions. In these classes, the teacher’s role shifts from star player to observer and coach as the students
The Spider Web Discussion is a simple technique that puts this kind of class within every teacher’s reach. The name comes from the weblike diagram the observer makes to record interactions as students actively participate in the discussion, lead and support one another’s learning, and build community. It’s proven to work across all subject areas and with all ages, and you only need a little know-how, a rubric, and paper and pencil to get started. As students practice Spider Web Discussion, they become stronger communicators, more empathetic teammates, better problem solvers, and more independent learners—college and career ready skills that serve them well in the classroom and beyond.
Educator Alexis Wiggins provides a step-by-step guide for the implementation of Spider Web Discussion, covering everything from introducing the technique to creating rubrics for discussion self-assessment to the nuts-and-bolts of charting the conversations and using the data collected for formative assessment. She also shares troubleshooting tips, ideas for assessment and group grading, and the experiences of real teachers and students who use the technique to develop and share content knowledge in a way that’s both revolutionary and truly inspiring.
(ASCD Premium, Select, and Institutional Plus Member book, September 2017) 7" x 9", 160 pages
April 2020Deeper DiscussionsVolume 77, No. 7
Get ready for some conversation! With oral communication skills increasingly seen as central to student growth and success, the April 2020 issue of Educational Leadership explores the critical topic of “Deeper Discussions”—looking at ways educators can break free of passive-learning conventions and use classroom conversations to promote higher-order thinking, effective communication, social-emotional skills, and equity.
Educational LeadershipMay 2020Learning and the BrainVolume 77, Number 8
The May 2020 issue of Educational Leadership explores the increasingly compelling connections between brain science and the classroom. With research in neuroscience shedding new light on how students learn best, the issue aims to help educators make the most of this information to promote whole child development—and determine how they can sort genuine scientific findings from myths and hearsay.