Ranking games and exercises

Give young people several quotations or statements and ask them to rank them in the order in which they agree with them, or in the order they would put them in if they were using them in an essay, speech or talk.

A particularly valuable kind of ranking game is the one sometimes known as diamond nines. Young people work in pairs or threes and each pair or three is given a set of nine statements and asked to discuss and agree which they consider most important. They have a large, diamond-shaped grid on which to place the statements. They place the most important statement at the top of the diamond and the least important at the bottom. There are two statements in the second row, equal in importance, three in the third row equal in importance and again two in the fourth. The overall pattern is shown below. The key point about this activity, as also about all such ranking games or activities, is the discussion that takes place and the way in which simple movements of one’s hands seems to facilitate purposeful talk. When each pair or three has agreed on their pattern they explain and justify their arrangement to others.

5 rows of numbers, 1 to 5 arranged in a diamond formation


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