How to Implement the Pick a Number Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom
The pick a number method asks learners to read a selection of quotations on a topic and select one to explore more deeply. Utilize this method when you want to introduce learners to several perspectives on a topic briefly and then offer each learner the choice of which view to discuss and investigate in more detail with their classmates.
- Select a Topic and Quotations: Decide on the topic that you want learners to learn about. It may be an event, issue, or a debate from history or literature or human behavior. Then select at least three quotations that embody different perspectives on the subject. Produce a poster for each quotation and post them around the classroom.
- Learners Select a Quotation: Give learners a few moments to read each quotation. You can have them disseminate around the room silently to read each poster, or you may put all the quotations on a handout for learners to review in their places. Then have each learner select one of the quotations that they would like to discuss further with a group of their classmates. Once learners have chosen a quotation, they must stand next to its poster. If only one learner selects a quotation, ask that learner to select again.
- Learners Discuss Their Quotation: Give the groups of learners time to discuss their chosen quotations. Many instructors will provide a set of questions to guide the discussion. You may want to have each group utilize the same set of questions to discuss their quotation, or you may create questions specific to each quotation. Alternatively, you may have learners use the connect, extend, challenge method to guide their conversations.
- Debrief as a Whole Group: Once the discussions have ended, facilitate a class discussion in which learners report out on their group discussions. Ask learners to comment on ideas and perspectives from other groups that felt applicable to their group’s discussion. What connections and differences did they notice among the various talks that occurred?