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Topic: group activities for adolescents

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Subject: group activities for adolescents
Date Posted: 4/19/2010 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 8,596
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Anyone have any good ideas for group activities that teens would enjoy?  These are developmentally disabled kids, some also have some mental illness also.  The activities would have to be short as they would be for the last 10 minutes or so of a 30-minute language lesson.  They love Hangman but I sense that it is getting a little old for some of them. 

Date Posted: 7/12/2010 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
Posts: 456
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I've used this with my 8th grade students (general education classes, some special needs students including a few that have some developmental delays depending on the class) and the kids LOVED it so I'm going to use it more frequently this coming year in other units.  I got this from one of my graduate classes, so I can't take any credit.  Someone in the class called it "silent chalk talk" and does it on the board with small classes, but I have big classes, so I used paper and different colored markers instead.

I broke them into groups, and I gave them a large sheet of paper (big enough that about 5 of 6 kids can sit around it with room to work).  In the middle I had them write the topic (in our class "Great?" because they were going to discuss why Alexander the Great was so "great.")  Then a timer was set for a few minutes (between 5-8 minutes depending on the class).  No one is allowed to talk for that amount of time (I made a bit of a game out of it and they were pretty good about it).  Each student had a different colored marker and had to write their arguments on the paper, connecting it to the bubble in the middle.  However, they couldn't write what other students wrote, so they had to pay attention to their peers.  They could connect their ideas to the ideas of another group member.  For example- a student wrote "good military leader" and someone else wrote "never lost a battle," then they could connect those ideas.  After the time ran out, they students presented their slightly messy papers to the class and explained the group's logic (2-3 students did this, but I let them decide- sometimes 1 student talked, and sometimes everyone said something).  I had students participating that usually don't which was great because no one could really dominate a conversation this way on paper.  Students that were less sure about their own ideas typically built off someone else's idea. 

Anyway, I figured I'd share this.  You could probably adapt it to go with a story- explaining a lesson learned, a main character's motives, or something.  My one class this year had 26 students, including 7 boys that functioned at a 3rd grade level and lower.  Those boys LOVED doing this because they had a chance to really participate and get their points across and it was different from something they usually do.  I hope this helps! smiley