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Spotlight on Strategies:Tabletop texting

Play a video segment and pause approximately every minute to allow students to process, reflect and respond to the content. Sitting in groups, students will have a minute to ask a question, or make a statement (or answer a previous question) on a piece of paper. This replicates texting, and they can use conversation bubbles, or different colour pens to add creative flair to their 'texting thread'. Paper should be passed to the right after each pause. Repeat several times. Statements and questions can then be shared.

Big idea

According to the 2011 Ofcom report on children's media literacy, texting ranks as the number one mode of communication among teenagers. It is beneifical if educators find creative and relevant ways to use students' preferred mode of communication.

Overview of strategy



video segment, paper, pen/pencils

  1. Select a video segment that matches your topic.
  2. Distribute one piece of blank paper and pens/pencils.
  3. Inform students that they will be watching a video and approximately every minute you will pause to give them a moment to process, reflect, and respond to the content being presented.
  4. Explain to students that each time you pause, they will be allowed 60 seconds to answer a question, make a statement, and ask a new question. They will do this by pretending they are texting their neighbour. They can draw conversation bubbles, use different colour pens, or anything else that might add creative flair to their 'texting thread'.
  5. Play the video segment and pause approximately every 60 seconds.
  6. During the first pause, have students write a statement about something they learned and a question.
  7. During the second pause, have students pass their papers to the right. They now need to provide a response to the question, write a new statement, and ask a new question.
  8. During the third pause, either have students pass their papers back to the left or continue passing to the right. Repeat the process until the segment has ended.
  9. Wrap up the strategy by having students share with the class some of the questions and responses that were brought up during the texting process.

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Sum it up

This strategy is a great way to engage students in the content by using a form of communication that they will be very familiar with. This strategy will also encourage students to think and respond on a higher level.

More ideas

Pose a higher-level question and display it. Have students respond to the initial question and ask a new and relevant question by texting their response on post-it notes and sticking them next to the initial question. Students can respond to what has been posted, and it will become a class 'texting thread'.

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