Place Mat Teacher Training

This is a teaching/learning strategy. Assign students to groups of four. Instruct the students to place themselves on the four sides of a table or desk, so that each person has a separate work space, but all can share the same piece of paper. Tell the students to number from 1 to 4 within their groups. Provide each group with one piece of 11x17 paper. Ask one person in the group to draw a box or circle in the middle of the page, then divide the paper into four quadrants. Each student will be responsible to record their ideas in their quarter of the paper, but not in the box/circle in the middle. A statement/question will be read aloud to the group. Students will list as many details as they can to answer the statement/question. Tell them that there will be no discussion during this part of the activity, as each person is to record only their own thoughts at this point. Explain that they now are going to share their ideas within their own groups. Within their group, students will read aloud all the ideas in their sections of the brainstormed content, grouping similar thoughts and opinions. Students will choose the “top three” ideas to share with the class.

NOTE: this strategy is often paired with Walkabout is also used as an independent strategy.