The class is divided into four groups, and the chairs are moved into a pinwheel. At the center of the pinwheel, sits one representative of each group plus a provocateur, a moderator and facilitator whose role is to keep the discussion going with provocative questions. Three of the groups are given a specific point of view to represent. Members of the fourth group are the provocateurs. The four speakers in the middle of the pinwheel discuss questions they prepared ahead of time. After some time passes, new students rotate from the seats behind the speaker into the center seats and continue the conversation.
To use as a device for discussing literature, each group can represent a different author or books about the same topic to discuss certain issues.
Links to Lesson Plans
Pinwheel discussions maximize student participation, while giving them freedom to express their opinions. They help students develop higher order thinking skills and allows the teacher to assess students though both formative and summative assessments by observing the discussions.
Some students are not comfortable with public speaking. It is important to give students time to prepare their answers to predetermined discussion points.