When first introducing SPIDER WEB discussions into your classroom, it is best to choose a topic that will get students talking. In her book The Best Class You Never Taught: How SPIDER WEB Discussion Can Turn Students Into Learning Leaders, Alexis Wiggins suggests beginning with a stand-alone discussion (discussion can be weaved into units after students have their first experience) and provides the following suggestions related to choosing a topic (pp. 22-24):
- Think student-friendly. Using a topic that is overly academic or content related may be off-putting to students and may damage the ability to use dialogue in the classroom in the future.
- Think multimedia. There are many great multimedia pieces available for viewing or listening that can spark student dialogue. Whether it’s a short film, music video, or spoken word recording, these multimedia presentations can provide tremendous fodder for student engagement.
- Think about questions. A single well-crafted question can get students going.
The possibilities for dialogue starters in the classroom are endless, and the learning from classroom dialogue is powerful and authentic. Be creative as you consider possible topics for your first SPIDER WEB discussion. You will find that you and your students learn much and enjoy the process!