When teaching remotely, the breakout room on Zoom is an excellent way to gain the learning advantages of small-group work. When teaching face-to-face, I think we’ll find that the blackboard is a very good medium. Give each student a piece of chalk and a copy of the group’s instructions. Give each group a quarter of the classroom — or if you need more room send a group out into the hall. Have the group talk together for five minutes. Then have each student, one by one, write their answer in their group’s designated part of the blackboard. Send the group back to its space to reflect on all the answers — can they distill those answers into one?
Once the class reassembles, the whole class can see the group’s many answers. A group member can report whether they were able to narrow those answers down. The class can then participate and ask questions.
Can we do this with white boards or flip charts? I think so.
What about the fear of spreading virus through sharing chalk or the eraser? Personal chalk, or personal markers for whiteboards, and a disposable glove for holding the eraser, should address this.