My favorite way to guide a conversation in a classroom is by using a talking stick. The talking stick, also called a speaker’s staff, may be passed around a group as a symbol of their right to speak.
I personally use a POOL NOODLE as my talking stick. I simply explain to the class that we are going to have a discussion. I give the group a POWER WORD that we are going to talk about. I then give the following instructions:
- You can only talk if you are holding the talking stick
- You can only talk and hold the talking stick for 30 seconds (You can adjust the time limit according to the size and needs of your group)
- When you are done talking you get to choose who get these talking stick next.
This allows everyone in the room to be heard, especially those who may be shy; and assures that the “long winded” don’t dominate the discussion. Plus, anytime you use a pool noodle it makes things more interesting!