I wanted the students to first read and understand their given ideas and examples and then react to them. I outlined the steps of this process on the board and we did the first topic as a group to get them warmed up. I made sure to disagree with one of the examples so that they could get comfortable with the idea of the book not always being right.
So while the first topic included a lot of teacher talking time, the rest of the class showcased the students and their ideas. There was some advanced vocabulary which I wouldn't have personally chosen for a mixed-level group and which required some explanation, but the kids got pretty involved in giving me their opinions about the readings' ideas. I use a team and point system to add incentive to classroom contributions, the points being pretty pretty plastic jewels, and was sure to encourage student reactions to their peers' opinions.
It went well, but we didn't completely finish the lesson and move on to the reading comprehension questions.. but I felt that this wasn't such a loss, considering the mixed-level makeup of the class.
To improve upon this method, I think it would have been beneficial for me to have picked out the more difficult vocabulary words and defined them in the beginning of class. I felt that, since I have been careful to make each group a mixture of high and low level students, that the high level students would be able to help the low level students learn these words.. but there were 4 or 5 words which even the high level students didn't know or generally misinterpreted.
Still, I got long and thoughtful answers out of each student in each class, some more than others, and think that things went pretty well.