Graffiti Boards (Remote Learning)

Rationale

Virtual Graffiti Boards are a shared writing space (such as Google Docs, Google Jamboard, Padlet, Flipgrid, or VoiceThread) where students can write comments or questions during a synchronous session or during a defined asynchronous time. The purpose of this strategy is to help students “hear” each other’s ideas. Virtual Graffiti Boards create a record of students’ ideas and questions that can be referred to at a later point, and give students space and time to process emotional material. Students’ responses can give you insight into what they are thinking and feeling about a topic and provide a springboard for both synchronous and asynchronous discussions.

The following questions can help you plan to use a virtual Graffiti Board:

  1. What collaborative digital tool(s) do I want to use for the virtual Graffiti Board?
  2. How am I going to deliver instructions to students about completing the activity?
  3. How often am I going to monitor the discussion?
  4. If teaching asynchronously, what is the defined time period I want to set for completing the activity?

Procedure

  1. Prepare Students
    Determine how you want to introduce your students to the activity (through video or written instructions or during a synchronous meeting). Share a text, image, or questions for students to respond to. If you are focusing on a topic that may be controversial or spark emotional responses in students, revisit your Remote Learning Contract before beginning the activity.

  2. Create the Virtual Graffiti Board
    Create the virtual space where your students will respond, for example, a GoogleDoc, Google Jamboard, or Padlet.

  3. Students Comment on Graffiti Board
    Invite students to add their questions or comments to the virtual Graffiti Board during a synchronous session or asynchronously during a defined period of time. Some teachers require each student to add at least one comment to the board. During a synchronous session, give students five to ten minutes for silent writing on the Graffiti Board (one to two days if students are commenting asynchronously).

  4. Hold a Group Discussion
    The ideas on the virtual Graffiti Board can be an effective springboard for a discussion. You could ask students to summarize what they see on the board or what they notice about areas of agreement and disagreement, during synchronous small-group or full-class sessions.

    For asynchronous learning, ask your students to review the virtual Graffiti Board after everyone has finished commenting and to reflect on what they notice about it. They can share their reflections directly with the teacher in an exit card or post them to a forum or document shared by the full class.

    The following questions can help guide a synchronous discussion or an asynchronous reflection:

    • What common themes do you notice among the comments and questions?
    • What are the areas of disagreement?
    • How does reading your classmates’ comments influence how you think or feel about this topic?

Variations

If you are teaching in a face-to-face setting, use our original Graffiti Boards strategy.

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