What is the Diamond Ranking Strategy?

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Check Out the New Blog School routineThe diamond ranking strategy is an excellent means of encouraging collaboration in the classroom. It also helps students understand text content better and guides teachers in planning based on level of student understanding.

In this strategy, students (paired or grouped) are given an envelope containing a set of statements (usually nine). These statements can also be facts or anecdotes that represent a variety of concepts, opinions and perspectives. Each statement is titled or numbered for easy reference.

Students are instructed to rank each statement and arrange them in a diamond formation. The criterion for ranking can be simple and general like “importance, relevance, significance” or can be detailed and content specific.

Students must place the statement with the highest priority at the top of the formation and the least important statement at the bottom. The second, third and fourth row consists of statements that are ranked with descending priority, with each row having two, three and two statements respectively.

After completing the task, each group is asked to explain their choice of ranking. The smaller groups can then be combined to form a larger group of six students and instructed to decide on a consensus ranking for the entire set of statements.

Additional ideas:

To increase the complexity of the activity and to encourage further reasoning and thought, certain changes can incorporated. One, provide the students with a set of criterion and instruct them to choose the most appropriate one. Two, provide them with the statements and ask them to discuss and decide on a criterion for ranking. Three, the statements are arranged in a diamond formation with imperfect ranking. Students are informed of the criterion (or can come up with their own) and should re-arrange the formation in the correct order.

You can also give additional statements (for example, twelve statements) and instruct them to dismiss three statements that are least fitting with the criterion or considered least important. Another method is to provide images, cartoons or keywords (of a topic) instead of statements. In all these variations, a discussion is initiated, and students are encouraged to explain their rationale and choice of ranking.

You can also direct the discussion to encourage students to share their thought process regarding the activity, its usefulness, the relevance to the topic and its effectiveness.

Why use the strategy?

Diamond ranking strategy encourages active participation of every student. It helps them to prioritize information, clarify thoughts and enhances their ability to focus, reason and reflect on the information presented. As students are expected to rationalize their choices, presentation and debating skills are facilitated.

Through peer interaction, it targets the facilitation of discussion, sharing information, accommodating perspectives of others, negotiating, and consensus seeking.

Discuss here: How did you use the strategy in your classroom?

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One Response to “What is the Diamond Ranking Strategy?”
  1. Lynnette Rochford says:
    Five Stars

    The diamond ranking strategy could be used for nearly all ages of children, even if younger students need help reading the 9 statements. This type of activity gets all students actively participating, if done right. Students are encouraged to use oral language skills which I find to be an area that some of my struggling readers need to develop. I could see using this type of activity before, during, and after an outdoor field trip to the neighboring nature center. Students could be grouped by the teacher to ensure balanced groups of kiddos who have strong oral language skills and those who have trouble organizing their thoughts into complete sentences. My first graders could discuss the animals and plants that they learned about at the nature center. Any concepts or content specific vocabulary could be used in the 9 statements, and adults could observe and moderate, only as necessary, to encourage the students to take control of their own learning through collaboration. The diamond ranking strategy could have endless uses for the classroom if modeled and practiced a time or two.

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