Last week I received a question from a reader who wanted to know if I had any ideas for running small group discussions in a socially distanced classroom. Here’s what he wrote: 

We are back in person at school, but wearing masks and sitting 6 feet apart. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for running a class or small group discussion (like a breakout).

I’ve done this a few times in my own classroom this fall. The process that I’ve been using begins with writing discussion questions in Google Docs, adding a small table below each question for students to write comments, and then making copies of the doc for each small group. While the students are using the chat and the table to exchange ideas I monitor all of the documents and occasionally stop the group to call out good comments and or bring the group back together for a whole-class conversation. 

The process that I’ve described above for using Google Docs to lead small group discussions is also outlined in the video below



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