Yesterday my sophomores and I began a study of Macbeth. My goal is to read through (or listen to/read) the whole play quickly so all of the kids know what I know about the plot and then back up and study certain scenes, monologues, and lines more closely. But it still takes time, and we still have to stop and clarify what's literally happening. I felt frustrated that I fell into the typical trap of stopping and saying, "So what's going on here?" and getting answers from a few kids.
We picked up today with Act I scene 6 with a new gameplan: Today's Meet, a free, easy backchannel site that does not require a login. I explained to my students that I wanted to hear more of their voices and do a better job of understanding their understanding. We talked briefly about the concept of backchanneling, I shared the link, tossed out a question, and we were off. A transcript of their posts from the end of Act I and beginning of Act II is available here.
I wasn't able to read their posts in class (though I'm thinking about assigning moderators for future discussions), but after class I scrolled through to see who was thinking what. I found quoted lines from the play, quick jots, answers to questions I threw out verbally or in my own post, and general impressions.
Overall, I think it was a success and I look forward to trying it again soon.