COVID-19 Educator Help Desk

Breakout Rooms - Best Practices

  • 1.  Breakout Rooms - Best Practices

    Posted 01-05-2021 17:42
    Hello All,

    Do you have any resources or best practices to share on managing breakout rooms, as well as activities to use in breakout rooms that work well?  Also, how do you manage (or what practice is in place) for multiple rooms and only one teacher, making sure students are not inappropriate without a teacher in the room?  Thanks for your feedback!

    H Maddox

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    Helen Maddox Instructional Technology Coach/Director
    Instructional Technology Coach
    Kennesaw State University
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    The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide to Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences


  • 2.  RE: Breakout Rooms - Best Practices

    Posted 01-06-2021 10:42
    Hi Helen,

    Our teachers in my district have had students working in small groups in breakout rooms where they pop into each one. Alternatively, parapros, aides, or interventionists teachers monitor the breakout rooms.

    In terms of teaching strategies, my district adapted a method from the link here for usage: https://engagetheirminds.com/2020/08/26/virtual-breakout-rooms/ Specifically, we adapted Esther Park's ideas about using breakout rooms for specific types of study. We also have had students working on a Google Slide deck while in a breakout room. Each group gets a Google Slide to work on so the teacher can "monitor" the student's work even if the teacher is not in the same breakout room.

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    Mia Gutsell
    Instructional Technology Coach
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    The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide to Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences


  • 3.  RE: Breakout Rooms - Best Practices

    Community Champion
    Posted 01-13-2021 18:40
    Hi Helen,

    I've seen teachers use individual breakout rooms (i.e., if you have 30 kids, create 30 breakout rooms) to give students a little time to work on some ideas alone, also enabling them to call for help knowing that no one else will hear what they are embarrassed to ask about the content.

    Like anything else, someone looking for an air-tight way to keep kids on track won't find it here, but for students who do appreciate some quiet time to work and teachers who want to check in with students who seem to be having trouble, this is one approach.

    In service,
    Rushton


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    Rushton Hurley Other
    Nonprofit Executive Director
    Next Vista for Learning
    ------------------------------

    The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide to Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences


  • 4.  RE: Breakout Rooms - Best Practices

    Community Champion
    Posted 01-14-2021 09:14
    Breakout rooms as so important to building social presence in our courses. Even if the students get off topic a bit it's going to help them build relationships.  But I use two strategies to help keep them appropriate an on track.  1. I pop in at random.  This way they never know when the teacher is going to show up and it keeps them on their toes.  2) Each group has to share when they get back to the team and this bit of positive peer pressure also helps to keep them on track as well.  But like Rushton said, there are no air-tight ways to keep complete control.  You could also try strategically assigning the rooms so that students who get off track are paired with students who are better at keeping the group focused.

    Stacy

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    Stacy Tippens Instructional Technology Coach/Director
    Director of Instructional Design and Innovation
    The Madeira School
    ------------------------------

    The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide to Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences


  • 5.  RE: Breakout Rooms - Best Practices

    PLN Leader
    Posted 01-19-2021 09:07
    Hi Helen,

    I have a story I wrote on this coming up in NSTA's Science Scope. I have one main jamboard with the names of the students listed and the links to their small groups linked to their specific jamboard. Before we breakout I assign a specific task/ question, set a timer, and pop in an out of the rooms.
    This is not perfect but, it is getting the students to collaborate and build relationships with one another. We meet back in the "main" room and discuss or poll what they were investigating or present the task that was assigned.  I hope this helpful.

    Thanks, Denise

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    Denise Wright, M.Ed.
    STEM Educator
    Ocean Bay Middle School
    @DenisecWright
    ------------------------------

    The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide to Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences


  • 6.  RE: Breakout Rooms - Best Practices

    Posted 01-20-2021 23:37
    As a student (and future teacher) who has been a part of many breakout rooms, I can tell you that checking in with the groups and going over the group work as a whole class is important. I've been stuck in a few rooms where none of us understood the assignment, or the material, and just sat there for 20 minutes mostly doing nothing waiting to join back up with the class.

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    Julia Robins Student
    Indiana University of Pennsylvania
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    The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide to Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences


  • 7.  RE: Breakout Rooms - Best Practices

    Posted 01-21-2021 22:19
    Hi Helen-
    In my experience just having the teacher randomly pop into the room goes a long way in keeping students on task.  However, if you really want to monitor what is going on in multiple breakout rooms at the same time, here is a link to a youtube video that explains how to assign yourself as a "ghost" into each breakout room using different web browsers simultaneously. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmXq9g_VrmE

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    Cynthia Murdock Librarian/Media Specialist
    Media Director
    Uinta County School District #1
    ------------------------------

    The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide to Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences


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