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Ideas for Group Tutors

For more ideas, see Tessa's Group Tutoring Activities (Word) From our Senior Biology tutor, these are great for math and science groups!

Name Bounce To help you and the group members know and use each other’s names to encourage group-centered, rather than leader-centered discussions and problem solving. The leader calls out "name bounce" and says the name of one student in the group. That student must then call on another by name, and that person must call on another, and so on. Repetition is OK, but try to ensure that every one eventually gets called. Push students to go as fast as they can to create a sense of momentum and fun

Ball Toss This is a semi-review and wake-up exercise when covering material that requires heavy concentration. Have everyone stand up and form a circle, facing in, looking at each other. Toss a nerf ball or bean bag or a crumpled up piece of paper to one student and have tell what they thought was the most important concept just learned was. That person then tosses the ball to someone and that person explains what they though was the most important concept. Continue the exercise until everyone has caught the ball at least once and explained an important concept of the material just covered.

Process Ball This is similar to the above exercise, but each person tells one step of a process or concept when the ball is tossed to them. Someone else in the group, in turn, writes it on a board. For example, after covering "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs," you would start the ball toss by having everyone give one step in the pyramid of needs, e.g. Safety, Physiological, Esteem, etc.

Two Truths and a Lie A group member writes three (course-related) statements on the board. (The group leader may want to go first, to model the game.) Two statements are true, and one is false in some way. The group then discusses and votes on which statement is false. Make sure those who voted wrong understand their mistakes. For larger groups: break into teams of 2's or 3's and play the game with course-related information. Each member of the team takes turns making up the 2 truths and a lie. For smaller groups: play the game, and have each member take a turn at the board.

Jeapardy Team members write 3-5 "answers" on separate index cards. Leader reads answers and teams get points for stating the question that does with the answer. A timer helps speed up the game. Make sure that each person in the group has a turn.

Team Quiz Have each person write 3-5 possible test questions (use the textbook, from lecture notes, or class handouts, etc.) on index cards. You might breakup the material, and assign each individual or pair a specific topic. Then break into teams and take turns quizzing the other team. The leader keeps score on the board. This can also be done in pairs.

Board Notes As a group decide on the 3 or 4 most important topics to review during the session. Write these topics across the top of the board, with vertical lines between them. For a larger group (6 or more) divide group into pairs and have each pair write the 3-5 most important concepts under the topic. Then have them explain these to the group. For a smaller group, just assign a member to take notes on the board,while the group helps decide what to write down.

Freewriting Begin a session by having students write for three minutes on a topic related to course material. Potential topics include how they applied specific learning strategies during the last week, their thoughts on a specific concept covered in lecture and readings, what questions they have for this session, or any other topic that might help focus their minds on the discussion to follow.Tell them to write as much as they can, as fast as they can, without worrying about grammar, spelling, or sentence structure. They do not have to share their writing unless they want to. The goal is to have students focus their energy and clear their minds so that they can concentrate better during the discussion. They can share these, or just put them aside.

Silent Socratic Dialogue See
Pose a question for the students to write on. In the case of a class on the Vietnam War, asked them at the end of the class to address this question in their journal for the next class: "To what extent should moral considerations enter into the conduct of a war?" In the next class paired them up, told them they could not talk at all during the exercise, and asked them to read their partner's answer and, at the end, to write one genuine question that would help clarify the answer or drive the partner deeper into her answer. And it had to be a real question, not a statement followed by, "don't you think?"

The partners then exchange papers and answer the question in writing, exchange papers and ask a question, exchange papers and answer the question....The last time this kept going for about forty minutes, after which we discussed the question.

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Last Updated: 10/30/12