Variations of the “Trade and Share” Activity to Explore Academic Content

In my past two posts I explored an active dialogue activity “Trade and Share” that can be used as a rapport builder, and for reflection. In the next couple of posts I am offering variations of this technique to explore and reinforce academic content.


After using this activity in a course I recently taught for faculty at Mt. Anthony Union High School I asked teachers to explore ways they might use it with their students. Jessica Dubie an English teacher at MAUHS tried it in her classroom and shared this example:
“I made name cards for all of the characters from The Odyssey and Oedipus the King. I scattered them all over the table and told the students to choose one.


With the allowance of using their books, I told them to write one sentence about the character they received to identify who the character is. Then they found a partner and introduced their characters, having the partner guess who the characters were.


After they exchanged cards, they were told to add another sentence to the card. They exchanged cards at least 3 times, and many of them ended up with their own cards again, which was actually good because a few of the characters were quite obscure or from a piece we read a little while ago. It turned out to be a great formative assessment.


In retrospect I realize I should have made a second set for my other section of the class, but it worked out well because 4th block had to add to what was already written about the characters. What the other students had already written provided them with basic information, and they had to expand upon the character, looking deeper into the text.


I really liked the activity. It is hard sometimes to get my honors class to do activities where they are up and moving more, given that we cover a lot of notes, and it is a humanities class. I need to find the time to do more things like this! I was going to use the cards again and have the students come up to play “Celebrity” where they state the information in front of the class and the class has to guess who they are, but I felt I had too many characters for that element, so I am going to try that piece again for a later unit, most likely Julius Caesar.”



Thank you Jessica for sharing this variation! I hope it inspires other educators to get their students moving, talking and reflecting together.

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