Instructors like to believe that if students are awake and engaged in conversation it's a cause for celebration. But there's more to consider. You may witness a spectacular discussion on the effects of teen magazines on youth culture or the implications of cyborgs in science fiction novels, but at some point you need to ask, "How do these discussions help students become better writers?"
When planning a discussion, consider your daily goals. Ask yourself, what do I want students to gain from this discussion? How will it contribute to the overall goal for the lesson? How does it connect to students' own writing?
Shape your outline or discussion plan to reflect the daily goals.
Discussions happen for different reasons. Perhaps you're leading a discussion to introduce a new concept or assignment. Maybe you're critiquing a sample essay, or looking closely at an assigned reading. Whatever the situation, you'll want to consider your role, as well as the goals. Taken together, these provide a starting point to give shape to your classroom discussions.