Are you looking for an innovative teaching strategy that actively engages your students and encourages collaboration? Look no further than the Snowball Technique! This technique allows students to become teachers as they work together in progressively larger groups.
This blog post will explain the step-by-step process of implementing the Snowball Technique in your classroom, along with several exciting variations. So, let’s dive in and discover how this teaching strategy can revolutionize your classroom dynamics.
Be sure to get the handout. It includes the printables to try the Snowball Technique in your classroom.
Introduce Resource Materials:
Begin by providing your students with various resource materials, such as texts, photos, and documents, that contain information relevant to the topic you’re teaching.
Give your students approximately 10 minutes to read through the provided material. During this time, they should focus on identifying the key facts and essential details.
After reading, instruct the students to write down the main details on a graphic organizer. This organizer will serve as a tool to help them organize and synthesize the information.
Now, the students pair up with another student to form pairs. Each student takes turns becoming the “teacher” and explaining the information they gathered from the resource materials to their partner. This process allows them to reinforce their understanding and communication skills.
Next, two pairs join together to form a group of four. Within this new group, the students repeat the process of sharing and explaining the information they have gathered. They also compare their notes and add any additional details to their graphic organizers.
The groups of four members then combine to form groups of eight members, and the process continues. The students go over the key details once again, and each group member adds any new information to their organizers. This snowballing effect continues until the entire class works together as one large group.
Variation #1 – Jigsaw Activity
In this variation, divide the class into small groups and assign each group a different topic or concept to research and become experts on. After working alone and collaborating with a partner, the groups join with another group researching a different topic. In these new groups of four, each member presents their findings and shares their expertise. Finally, students move into groups of eight, where each member shares their results from previous groups. This method of communication creates a comprehensive understanding of all topics covered.
Variation #2 – Expert and Home Groups:
For this variation, divide the students into groups of four or five members, called the “Expert Group.” Each Expert Group discusses one portion of a task. After a specific time, the students move to “Home Groups,” which consist of one person from each Expert Group. In the Home Group, students share the information they gathered from their Expert Group.
This variation ensures that each student is responsible for teaching the Home Group a specific piece of information.
Variation #3 – Literature Circles:
Assign different books to small groups of students to read and analyze. Each student reads the book independently, then collaborates with a partner to discuss and analyze the texts. The two pairs of students then form a group of four to discuss the books. Finally, the class discusses the connections between the novels.
Variation #4 – Creative Writing:
Assign each student a different writing prompt or theme to develop into a short story or poem. After working independently, students collaborate with a partner to peer-edit and give feedback on their writing. The two pairs of students then join another group to share and workshop their writing, discussing different literary techniques and styles. Finally, the class works together to create a literary magazine featuring each students’ best writing pieces.
Handouts for Practice
The Snowball Technique is an engaging and collaborative teaching strategy that empowers students to participate in their learning process actively. By gradually expanding the groups, students can teach and learn from their peers, reinforcing their understanding and communication skills. Additionally, the variations provided offer flexibility and adaptability to suit different classroom dynamics. So, why not give this strategy a try in your classroom?
Grab the free printable, filled with resources about Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown, and watch your students embrace their roles as learners and teachers. Happy teaching!