Three As Plus One


Interacting with Text

Additional Purpose(s):

Facilitating Dialogue, Organizing Learning

This process provides a structure for focused dialogue about text that learners have read.


  1. Have learners sit in groups of four and letter off A through D. After reading the text selection, provide each student with four index cards and ask them to record the following on individual index cards: 
    • One thing with which you agree
    • One thing with which you might argue
    • One thing to which you aspire. 
    • The fourth card is assigned later.
  2. To begin, all group members show their agree cards in the middle of the table.  
  3. A synthesizes what everyone agrees with and leads a group discussion around the values, beliefs and experiences that might have led to these agreements.  
  4. Repeat the process with the argue cards with B leading the synthesis and dialogue, and then with the aspire cards with C leading the synthesis/dialogue. 
  5. To conclude, each learner then takes their fourth unassigned card and records a personal “Aha” — an insight from the reading and dialogue.  
  6. Repeat the process with the “Aha” cards with D leading the synthesis and dialogue.  
  7. Bring learners back to whole group discussion of their insights. 


  • Index cards (4 per learner)


Adapted from: Lipton, L., & Wellman, B. (2011). Groups at work: Strategies and structures for professional learning (p. 86). MiraVia, LLC.