Ten ways to get kids talking so that you aren’t

  • SEVEN MINUTES. If you are talking to your students for more than 7 minutes then you are probably talking too long. Plus, no one is listening any more.
  • Turn and talk. Use this far more than you use question and answer with just a few students answering.
  • Identify the table group that is going to answer the question instead of one student. Someone from group 6 give me the answer…group 4 you are on deck if they need help. (I stole this from Raegan).
  • Ask the question and have table groups discuss it. Ask one student (wearing green, with the longest hair, whose birthday is closest to summer etc.) to put their hand up when the table has an answer.
  • Ask a question. Invite students who agree to stand on one side of the room and students who disagree to stand on the other. Have the groups list their arguments.
  • Ask a question. Invite students who agree to stand on one side of the room and students who disagree to stand on the other. Pair students from the agree side with the disagree side and have them discuss the issue.
  • Ask a question. Ask students to form an opinion line with completely agree at one end and completely disagree at the other end. Have students talk to the people around them about why they chose to stand where they are.  Ask some students to share.  Invite students to change where they are in the line.
  • Little whiteboards. If you are doing a review, have all students answer questions on individual whiteboards not just some students who put up their hands. Not only is everyone answering but you get a quick idea about who knows what.
  • Ask a question. Ask students who think yes to stand and students who think no to sit on their desks. Everyone has to move so everyone has to commit to an answer.
  • Don’t take up work. If the work the students have done is easy to mark, then put up the correct answers and have them mark their own. Never have them mark another student’s work.  It gets it done fast.  If you want to ensure that kids really understand why their answer is wrong, have students pair up and compare answers.  If their answers are the same, assume it is correct (chances are slim that two students would have the same wrong answer).  If their answers are different then they should chat until they agree.  If you need to know how they answered, then you have to mark it.
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