There is a lot I want to change to improve the SLC structure for next year, but this inquiry project provides me with a strong base for group work.
By genuine discussions, I mean that the A and B groups are talking to each other, the speaker is continuously changing, and the students are responding to each other more consistently. As Raphael and John both mention in the videos, many times each member will take their turn to speak, so it can turn into 30 second speeches instead of a discussion.
The SLC subgroups (A and B) are only joined in conversation by the connector right now. The A and B subgroups are helpful because students are more accountable for participation in smaller groups, and they set up differentiated instruction because I will often provide different discussion questions for A and B sections based on the same topic or reading. Next year, I want to work on having both smaller subgroup discussions and bridging together the entire SLC to share with each other and the whole class.
Overall, I think the SLCs began to improve their discussion skills. The group roles helped because it forced them to take more responsibility for speaking and listening. I liked watching the Connector role in action because it was particularly a unique and open-ended group role, so students could run with it in different directions. One connector would ask the A and B sections questions, while another would mostly listen, and another would become a second group leader at times. This reminded me why I developed the SLCs in the first place--to see how students would take something and make it their own.