Cocktail Hour

Cocktail Hour:


Students are given a subject, objective or question. Students are divided into groups where they discuss their subject, objective or question. This can be done through either writing, brainstorming, or prompted discussions. Once the student groups have had sufficient time to come up with their ideas on the subject they are sent to ‘cocktail hour’. During cocktail hour the groups divide and intermingle. While the students mingle they are encouraged to participate in their discussions as individuals who are from or might represent that subject. Each student should gather information from as many people at the cocktail hour as possible. Students are brought back together and try to determine what the other groups subject, question or objective may have been. Afterwards the students can be brought back together to discuss the findings and then debrief the material that was covered.


Cocktail hour is an embodied variation of think, pair, share. Through guided discussion and teacher prompts students think on a subject within a small group (pair). Once they have had a chance to discuss their subject, question or objective the students then physicalize and internalize their character. This embodiment gives the students a chance to further investigate the subject they have discussed. The next step allows students to share their discoveries in a less structured way then by discussing them in a large group. This also gives more students a chance to discuss their findings with less fear of being “wrong”.  The debrief allows students a chance to confirm what they discovered during Cocktail Hour.


  • The leader can increase the amount of sharing by encouraging the cocktail hour to become a little more social
  • Smaller groupings can deal with different perspectives of the same subject, objective or question
  • Younger students can go to a different style of party (birthday party, playground)


It is important for the teacher to be involved in the process the whole way through. The teacher needs to follow up with each group to make sure that their discussions are on track. The teacher should be listening to the conversations to ensure that the students are on topic. The debrief is a good chance for the teacher to assess the understand and level of discussion as well as ensure that all the key points are addressed. The debrief is the equivalent of a whole class share in the more standard think, pair, share exercise

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