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"Harkness Discussion" in Ms. Grobe's World History classes -- September 15, 2016

The topic of the day at C. A. Gray is “When and how did humans escape from the hunter/gatherer lifestyle?”


Students in Ms. Amada Grobe’s World History classes have been taking part in a type of round-table conversation called a Harkness Discussion. This teaching and learning method involves student discussion in an encouraging, open-minded environment with minimal teacher intervention. The students read two articles in preparation of the lively discussion. Mr. Allen Edwards, director of 6-12 gifted education, sat in on the class. Afterward, Mr. Edwards said, “That was one of the smoothest seminars I've seen - absolutely remarkable for this early in the year.” He provided specific and encouraging feedback to Ms. Grobe on the exercise including,

“I was impressed with how often the students referenced the texts. This is something that often has to be taught and retaught, but your kids seemed to work with the texts effortlessly. This to me suggested one or more of three things: a) You've already taught the skill and students have mastered it; b) students knew the texts well enough through rereading and annotating that referencing the text was second nature (This is an excellent strategy. I noticed a lot of this.); and/or c) 8th grade teachers did an excellent job of teaching claim-evidence- explanation.”