How to Implement the Give One, Get One Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom


Utilize this method to stimulate learners’ thinking as they investigate an essential question or search for evidence in response to an essay prompt throughout a unit of study. In this method, learners formulate initial positions and arguments in response to a question or prompt and then share them through a structured implementation. That way, they can test and refine their ideas as they share their thoughts and hear the views of others. Learners will practice being active-active listeners or readers—an essential skill for learning new information.


Learners Prepare: Ask learners to divide a piece of paper into two vertical columns. Tag the left side “Give One” and the right side “Get One.”

Learners Respond to a Question: Ask learners to respond to a question such as, “Do you agree that laws are the most important factor in overcoming discrimination? Why or why not?” Learners must write their ideas on the left-hand column of the paper. They can write words or phrases instead of complete sentences; responses can be in list form.

Give One, Get One: Tell learners to move around and find someone to partner with. Each partner “gives” or shares things from their list. For instance, Partner A shares his/her responses until Partner B hears something that is not already on their list. Partner B writes the new reply in the right-hand column, along with Partner A’s first name. When Partner B has “gotten” one, the roles change. Learners repeat this process with other peers until time runs out.

Instructor’s role: As learners share their ideas, instructors must keep notes. Pay particular attention to these details:

Patterns of insight, comprehension, or strong historical reasoning

Patterns of confusion, factual inaccuracies, facile connections, or thinking that indicates learners are making overly simplified comparisons between past and present

The goal is for learners to share text-based evidence effectively and accurately. The following categories can guide you, the instructor, as you listen to your learners’ discussion. Listen for these components:

  • Factual and interpretive accuracy: presenting plausible interpretations
  • The persuasiveness of evidence: including evidence that is applicable and strong in terms of assisting in proving the assertion
  • Sourcing of evidence: noting credibility and/or bias or the source
  • Corroboration of evidence: acknowledging how various documents work in tandem to support an assertion
  • Contextualization of evidence: putting the evidence into the right context

As learners debrief, weave in feedback. Affirm their insights. Highlight strong historical reasoning and text-based arguments. Select one or two misconceptions about the content to address. Point out areas where learners may want to reassess the ways they are connecting past and present.

Debrief : After this method, you will want to debrief in a journal writing session or class-wide discussion.

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