The door was open to AP U.S. History and I saw kids all huddled around in a circle-ish type of configuration, so I thought I'd drop in and see what was going on.
I noticed that every student was actively listening to the one student speaking. That student was the one who had the stuffed animal on his or her lap. After the student completed his or her speaking points (making references to the readings at hand), the animal was passed off to the next student who either had their own questions, comments, or wonderings from the reading.
Students were discussing the early colonies of America and the impact of a certain religious movement. It's been a long day and I can't remember the exact details, but questions and comments were at a high level of cognition and the students were the ones doing the thinking. Yes!!