Snapshot: Small Group Activity to Critically Examine Assigned Readings

Snapshot: Small Group Activity to Critically Examine Assigned Readings

thinking head

For this activity students were challenged to identify at least three key points and/or arguments an author made in an out-of-class assigned reading.  Each member of the class then wrote their three points on a large note card. The instructor collected the note cards, shuffled, and redistributed them, so students were viewing anonymous cards from their classmates. Next they had small group discussions about the points brought up on their note cards, including if the argument had been correctly identified, their level of agreement with the point raised, and if they had thought of the same point while completing the reading.

The activity initially challenges students to demonstrate a clear understanding of the article, but then asks students to analyze the points raised by their classmates as compared to the original work of the author. The activity sequentially builds on increasingly complex levels of learning (knowledge, comprehension and critical thinking) similar to the categories in the cognitive domain of the revised Bloom’s taxonomy (Anderson et al., 2001; Bloom and Krathwohl ,1956).

This practice was created by Mary High, Lecturer in Department of Communication Studies for her TILE course "Criticism and Public Culture".


Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of educational objectives: Complete edition, New York : Longman.

Bloom, Benjamin S. & David R. Krathwohl. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals, by a committee of college and university examiners. Handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York , Longmans.