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“We all know exercise is good for the body. But it’s incredibly good for the brain, too. Exercise zaps harmful stress chemicals. It boosts problem-solving, planning, and attention” (Brain Rules). The Conga Line is a fun strategy that incorporates physical movement into lessons allowing students to move out of their seats and communicate with other members of the class.
- Have students view, read, or listen to the selected media.
- Prompt students to think about the material they’ve seen, read, or heard and record their thoughts on paper. Prompts may include:
- What is one important fact you remember?
- What is something you would like to explore further?
- What would you like to share about this topic?
- Give students two to three minutes to think about and record their thoughts.
- Divide the class into two equal groups and create two lines that face each other with students matched up one-to-one. Name the lines: #1 and #2.
- Allow students in line #1 two minutes to share their thoughts with their matched partners in line #2.
- When the two minutes are up, give the matched student in line #2 one minute to comment or provide feedback on what the first student shared.
- Switch sides: allow students in line #2 two minutes to share their thoughts and the students in line #1 one minute to respond and provide feedback.
- Ask students in line #1 to take one step to the right, pairing themselves with the next student in line #2. The student at the end of line #1 should walk to the beginning of the line.
- Repeat this process several more times.
This versatile strategy allows students to move and collaborate, while promoting their ability to engage in meaningful conversations with a variety of classmates.
- Use Conga Line as a formative assessment. Before introducing new material to students, arrange the Conga Line and prompt students to discuss broad questions that relate to a new unit of study. Listen closely to what is being discussed to find out what students already know about the topic and where they may have misunderstandings.
- Use Conga Line as a get-to-know-you activity on the first day of school. Prompt students with questions such as:
- What is your favorite color?
- What was one thing you did over break?
- Who is your favorite author or book?
- What would you want your super power to be?
- What subject do you think is your best?