Why aren’t you talking?!

I’ve been having trouble getting students willing to talk, answer questions, or share their ideas in class. What strategies/activities do you use to help kids feel more comfortable talking and sharing in your class?
—C., Arizona

There are few things worse than looking at a group of quiet students who you really want to participate! I addressed how to get discussions started in a previous blog (http://bit.ly/322RAfK ) but it’s probably good to revisit this common bane of teachers.

Start the lesson with an impressive demonstration or engaging video to stir up interest. Many students that are shy may just need some more time to digest and formulate ideas and questions before they’re comfortable talking with others. Graphic organizers allow students to think and write on their own so they have fuel for the discussions to follow. Some graphic organizers may be found in this collection in the Learning Center: http://bit.ly/30BgZwO

With their notes in hand, you can set up learning circles for larger groups to discuss topics. Set up rules on how they need to work: always stop at each and every person and always in the same direction – never skipping or reversing.

Hand-held white boards are excellent tools to get students involved. Every student or pair of students writes down short answers, sketches graphs, or indicates their understanding for quick feedback without having to talk in front of classmates. As students raise their boards, simply point, give a quick nod or simple feedback to help them figure out the correct answer. Don’t move on to the next question until everyone has successfully participated. This activity can be exciting and fast-paced, so don’t have too much down time and keep it moving along with a series of prepared questions. You can even invite students to question the class and give their own feedback.

Hope this helps!

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

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