Friday, April 26, 2013

An Alternative to Asking for Students to Raise their Hands.

How do you control a classroom?  When you ask a question, how many students raise their hands and one or two just yell out the answer.  You don't want to stop the moment and reprimand the students who didn't yell out, you want to continue the teachable moment.  

Here are some better alternatives to the hand raising routine:

Turn and Talk. Tell students to sit in pairs of two.  After the question is asked, pairs of children turn to each other. One listens while the other answers. This way half of the class is engaged in talking, and it is easier for children to pay attention to the speaker in a paired situation. This should move quickly, so keep the pace brisk to support children staying on task.

Think-Pair-Share. Similar to Turn and Talk, except that children are first given time to solve a problem or answer a question individually, then they turn to their partner, quickly share responses with each other and come up with the best or most interesting answer. Next the teacher calls on a few pairs to share with the class. You can use the Random Group Creator to make your groups.  

Choral Responses. To increase student engagement and reinforce simple concepts, allow the children to respond all together. This works best for questions with one answer, and as a quick review of previously covered material.

Hand Raising for simple questions.  When you have a yes or no question, ask students to raise up their hands if their answer is yes, and then ask raise your hand if your answer is no.  Then finally, raise your hand if you don't have an answer.  Quick assessment.

Cold Call. Keep a list of children’s names,  on cards, or Popsicle sticks, and randomly pick children’s names using the Randimizer to answer. This helps to improve the pace of the lesson, and keeps children engaged since they don’t know when they will be called on. However, it should still be used sparingly since it still suffers from the problem of only one student at a time interacting with the question.

One more randomizer - for groups.  To form groups out of two classes or more.  It's only for forming two groups.

Hope this helps you in your teaching method.

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