Because this particular group of students had experienced difficulty working in groups or collaboratively earlier in the semester, we were just hoping they would participate and have a positive experience working in small groups.
Since the students had little prior experience with text annotation, we also printed copies of possible conversation prompts in case students experienced any difficulty thinking of how to engage in the written dialogue once they were at the tables with their groups.
While our students were initially a little tentative in their confidence about their first efforts, we saw them becoming more comfortable as they moved deeper into their writing.
At first, they looked a little hesitant, much like a wobbly newborn deer standing on its legs for the first time. Finally, we included rosters of each group so that it would be easy to quickly get groups to their writing tables. Click here to download a sample for your classroom. Our Write Around the Room and Fill in the Blank were such great ways to introduce the holiday to my littles and work on important holiday vocabulary at the same time!
Because some students are very defensive about any response to their work, splitting the write-around into two days might provide some degree of anonymity when groups rotate and defuse any possible confrontations.
When time is up, students pass the paper to the right and the same cue is used to signal new students to write.