Discussion Director

Your job is to develop a list of questions that your group might want to discuss about this part of the book. Don’t worry about the small details; your task is to help people talk over the big ideas in the reading and share their reactions. Usually the best discussion questions come from your own thoughts, feelings, and concerns as you read. In order to promote a discussion in your group, your questions MUST be open-ended, meaning that they don’t have a specific correct answer, but may have many responses based on peoples’ own interpretations. You need to develop 10 open-ended questions to use in your discussion.


Some tips to help you be a great Discussion Director:

  1. Be sure to give the students in your group enough “wait time” before you actually begin the discussion. You may have times where the students in your group are not sure of what to say, so you may need to think about providing hints or clues to the passage where they may reference the paragraph and/or page.


  1. As you lead the discussion, you may want to model for the other students how to politely make a point by entering the discussion with comments such as:
Excuse me …


I’d like to add …


I disagree because …


I agree because … I don’t understand what you mean … I’m confused about …


I’d like to expand on that …


What made you say … That reminds me of ….



  1. You may need to help students in your group:


*  focus on supporting ideas and opinions

*  disagree politely

*  listen with their eyes and ears on the speaker

*  reference the text for justifying or supporting ideas

*  predict what will happen next

*  relate to other books or characters as well as their own lives


  1. You should think of yourself as playing many different roles:
Acceptor– one who accepts a response as reasonable and appropriate because the response has been justified or explained: “That makes sense… I can understand why you would say that… I never thought about that before, but now I understand.”


Catalyst– one who moves the discussion in a new direction or initiates a new idea: “What if we thought about ____________from _________’s point of view?


Challenger– one who challenges a comment or answer by asking the student to justify his/her response: “How do you know…?  Why did you say…?  What made you say…?  Why do you think that?”


Defender– one who justifies or defends an interpretation:  “I think…. because…”  “I agree…. because…”
Clarifier– one who gets the student to elaborate if you are unsure of his/her response: “Are you saying … Would you tell us more about why you think that is so? In your own words, explain the issue. What evidence can you find to support…Tell me more about…  What do you mean…?”


Connector– one who gets the students to connect the book to their own lives, others’ lives, or other books or characters: “This story makes me think of … This reminds me of … If I were _______, I would…”


Inquisitor– one who questions ideas or wonders: “ I wonder why…What if …What about …”



You may also use some of the general questions below to develop topics to your group:

  • What was going through your mind as you read this?
  • Did anything in this section of the book surprise you?
  • Predict something that you think will happen next.
  • How did you feel while reading this part of the book?
  • What are the most important ideas in this section?
  • Did any of the characters change in this part of the story? What caused them to change?
  • How are you different from one of the characters? Explain.
  • If you could trade places with one of the characters, which one would it be and why?


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