This learning strategy helps students activate prior knowledge or share ideas in an anonymous, safe way.
Why use it?
- To allow students to consider different perspectives on a topic
- To share ideas in a way that is safe for students
- To support movement within learning
Tips for success
- Have your prompts prepped on individual pieces of paper for your students.
- Indicate a safe, open space for students to throw their “snowballs.”
How do I use it?
- Provide each student with a blank paper with a prompt at the top.
- Provide time for students to respond to the prompt.Tell them not to write their name on their response.
- Then instruct students to crumple up their papers – their “snowballs” – and wait for a signal to throw them.
It is recommended that students stand in a circle and throw their “snowballs” into the center of the room and not at each other.
- Have students collect a “snowball” that is not theirs, open it up, and add to or respond to what is written.
- Students continue to crumple and throw, retrieve and add/respond until the educator feels that they have captured enough thinking onto each page.
- On the last crumple and throw, students do not write. Instead, as a whole group, students share and discuss what is on their page in an anonymous and safe way.
- In a virtual setting, students could respond to a prompt using a Padlet. Students could respond to what others have written.
- To reduce prep time and paper consumption, consider writing the prompt on the board and providing students with papers that have already been used on one side.
Adapted from: Lipton, L. & Wellman, B. (2011). Groups at work: Strategies and structures for professional learning (p. 72). MiraVia.