Review: Choose Your Top 3 by Brian Schulenburg

February 6th, 2010
Like all good books written to spark discussion, Choose Your Top 3 offers many more chooses than you will need at any given time.  Brian Schulenburg has put together a collection of discussion starters that have the potential to spark some interesting conversations among your students.  The 500 discussion prompts will work for any age group, making it a very versatile resource for any youth worker.  Some of the discussion prompts are serious: choose your top three questions to ask God or top three traits you like about senior citizens.  Some of the prompts are funny: choose your top three shapes or top three worst movie sequels.  Many of the prompts land somewhere in between serious and funny.
To help you have a better grasp of the book and how to use it, Schulenburg spends the first three pages sharing tips on how to get the most out Choose Your Top 3.  This introduction will not take you long to read, but can help you get more out of the book.  I have used each method suggested and have found each successful.  Make sure you read his important caveat on page 15, it might save you a headache and a few phone calls.  
The book's format is simple; each page has only five or six discussion prompts on it.  This leaves you with room to write notes or the date a prompt is used.  Beyond just reading straight from the book, it can be a springboard to getting your students to come up with some of their own “choose your top 3” to ask each other.  One thing I noticed as I read through all 500 discussion starters is that some of them are very similar to each other.  This should not cause you to have the same discussion over and over, but you will need to make sure you use a good variety in order to get the best discussion, especially on a road trip.
Every time you choose to use this book, you will get different results.  You might end up with a serious discussion about a student's relationship with his parents one time and the next time you will end up talking about which mechanical pencil writes better on computer paper.  Anyone who works with students needs to have a copy of Choose Your Top 3 within arm's length.  It is, like the other Quick Questions books, a time saver because you will not have to spend time trying to come up with questions to ask or ways to spark discussion.  You might even need to buy a second copy to put in the church van.



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