*Please note: I have not tried all of these ideas in my classroom... these are my brainstorms.  Please

feel free to add your comments to ones I have already written [in your choice of color/font as you note below] as well as to add your brand new ideas to the bottom rows.



Name - Description - (who the idea is from)

Comments/ Benefits


Traditional Chat - Students come into class, get in their groups and discuss their summaries (or answers to the guided summary questions).  They also go around the table and share and answer their HOT questions (C. Kirch)

  • The “S”, the “Q” and the “SQ”
  • Go over summary questions.
  • Use SSS as guide
  • Add notes to SSS for questions you can’t discuss fully from memory
  • Each group member shares their question and discuss answer
  • (process for this will alternate on different days)
  • Review answers to secret questions
  • Make sure you have the correct answer and work!
  • If you don’t fully understand, then ask!

This works occasionally, but I have found my students don’t like discussing the same questions they already answered the night before.  And, there is no level of accountability for all students having and answering their HOT questions

What about Nearpod?  Or Socrative?  These are iPad apps so they would require electronic devices, but maybe it would help with some of the accountability?  What do you think? -Kirstyn Martin

How would you suggest using Nearpod or Socrative in small group settings? We might have enough devices for one for every 2 students. I’d love your ideas. - Crystal

Could you just have one device per chat group and have a group respond? I think I will try this next year!  :-) Sheila

After traditional chat, have group make ONE sentence summary. This is tough is they do it right!  Share it on whiteboards or via short answer option. (T. Maynard)

Tara, what a great idea and good way to hold them accountable/give them a goal! (Crystal K)

Crystal I experience the same lack of accountability and motivation to participate. I like the one sentence summary idea - what about creating a class hashtag for twitter and have each group tweet their summary? (Emily)

I color code students answers to the guided summary questions; green=good, yellow=almost, red=wrong.  

With students in groups I ask them to discuss any or all of the following

→ Pick a “green” answer and discuss what is good about it; why is it correct?  → Pick a  “yellow” answer and discuss; what’s good about it? what can be better? How can you make it a stellar answer?  

→ Pick a “red” answer and ask; what’s the mistake? how do you fix it? (Lisa)


WSQ-guided Chat - Before class, teacher looks through online WSQ submissions.  Could look at specific questions, or just the “part I’m most confused about” column.  Teacher comes up with 3-5 NEW questions that the students have not yet individually answered based on student responses - these can also be questions the students posed themselves in the WSQ (whether or not they were in the form of a question when written).  Groups discuss the answers to these questions.  These are generally more higher-order thinking questions than the ones posed for their guided summary. (C. Kirch)

These are new, fresh, and generally harder questions for students to answer and also meet their needs a little better because they are questions from a student perspective.


Challenge Problem Solve-Off - Teacher comes up with 1-3 of the hardest problems from the lesson (but still solvable with the skills they’ve learned).  Groups work together to solve the problem and while doing so are discussing key ideas from the lesson. (C. Kirch)

Can make this more competition-oriented and game-like


HOT question challenge - Students come in and instead of going to their groups, they go and write their HOT question from the night before on the class whiteboard (or on a sticky note to put on a wall, or something like that).  HOT questions could be questions they actually had, or could be questions they know but think a classmate might not.  Groups are then randomly given 2-4 sticky notes to use for their discussion. (C. Kirch)

Students are up out of their seats a little more than usual, and there is complete ownership since the direction of the chat is solely based on them.

You could also have the questions posted on different charts around the room and the WSQ groups travel (carousel brainstorming) to respond. (S. Fisher)


Student-created problems preparation - When a student problem, student video, or WPP is associated with the concept, the WSQ chat time can be used to refine the written problem (making sure it is detailed, accurate, and includes all needed information) as well as to solve it as a group or with partners within the group.  (C. Kirch)

Gives the students structured time to get this assignment started as well as the peer support make sure they are on the right track.

Pop Quiz Self-Prep - Tell each group they are going to be asked one question as a group from the lesson last night.  It could be a conceptual question, an actual math problem, etc.  Give them 5 minutes to “review” as a group by going over the lesson, explaining things, etc.  They do not know if I will allow anyone to answer, pick one specific person from the group to answer, or allow them to collaborate when answering so they all must be prepared. (C. Kirch)

Allows full freedom of choice in terms of what they need to discuss and go over.


Differentiated WSQ chat - Skim through the online WSQ responses before class and code each student a 1,2 or 3 (doesn’t have to be 3, but that seems to work).  A 1 means the student really sounds like they get it, a 3 means they seem completely lost, and a 2 is somewhere in the middle.  Students get in these differentiated groups when they come to class (project on screen) and have different tasks.  Have a challenge problem ready for the students in group 1.  They can answer it and move on to the practice.  Have the students in group 2 sit together (may have to have a few smaller groups depending on size) and discuss their questions and confusions together, with me near enough to clarify and help.  Students in group 3 come to the U (designated small group area) and get re-taught in a structured/guided manner different than how it was taught on the video. (C. Kirch)

Students get what they need in an individualized way.


Whole-class “Clicker” - (can also use cell phone polling like or...) - Find 3-5 good practice problems to review the lesson from the night before, or mix in some conceptual questions as well (I think they’d have to have multiple choice answers though).  Pose the questions, let the groups discuss for 30-45 seconds, and then ask for answers. (C. Kirch)

Engaging and Fun, as long as everyone has devices.

This works well with  Did it many times with short answer or MC and it’s a great way for groups to discuss and come to a consensus. (T. Maynard)


WSQ “Ticket or Click It” - I literally just made that name up.  Anyway... I’m thinking of maybe using something like a “ticket out the door” /exit slip/3-2-1 response or response clickers to be dismissed from their chat group.  The WSQ groups would respond to questions I noticed most of the class had when they filled out their Google Documents. After the chats, the groups would come back together and report out to the entire class.  Each person in the WSQ group would have a defined role: (facilitator, recorder, reporter). This is similar to your suggestion in # 9 (S. Fisher,)


Mighty Mistakes

Have anywhere from 2-5 problems done incorrectly with the common misconceptions you know happen with the given topic.  (Can actually be student work or done in own handwriting)  Ask groups to find mistakes and fix. Can easily be differentiated.  Can start all groups with same one and as they finish, add more.  (T. Maynard)

I did this using an iPad app called Ask3.  It allows students to add a text comment or their own video while watching me solve a problem incorrectly.  I had no sound.  The videos of my wrong problems were 25-35 seconds long.  …  This was a great way for students to catch their mistake areas quickly.  

Great idea! Takes planning, but so beneficial! Thank you. (C Kirch)


Circle Cards (or other card sort activities)

(This can be done after a quick traditional chat.)

When students just need some rote practice and/or you want them “doing” something more active with their hands, I go to card activities.  One of my favorites is circle cards.  (combining like terms example link here)  Cards have questions on the right and the answer is on the left of another card.  If done correctly, all cards should match up and form a “circle”. (T. Maynard)

Middle school kids like these because they are self-checking and they can go at their own pace.  It helps get the non-verbal students more engaged too.  I usually have 2-4 sets that go from basic to challenging.  Allows for some differentiating if needed.

I totally use this, too, and forgot about it!  Mainly just with my Algebra 1 kids.  Super easy to make (I use Kuta Software and can easily get problems and answers).  I have different colors of index cards for each “level” if I do that.  Thank you for the example as well! (C Kirch)


Math Learning Log (or Blog)

Have the students write a quick entry (5 sentences or less) about their WSQ chat - what did they learn, what was something that surprised them,what was the key idea of the lesson etc. It might be hard to expect this daily, but perhaps you could spring it on them randomly? (Emily)

incorporates reflection and writing


Peer Instruction (I’ll finish typing this later but I got it from Julie Schell’s Flipcon preso)


Speed Dating