Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guided discussions

I've heard teachers express hesitation over group work and a lot of open discussions ... they feel they are apt to lose control (I hate that feeling too).

One technique I'm using with success so far is a graded discussion - I walk around with a legal pad as we talk and students get full points for participating; half points for paying attention but remaining quiet; and zero points for disruptions.

Tossing around a soft ball from student to student is how we know who has the floor. It's working well so far!

I know some students prefer a silent, distraction-free classroom, but my thought is that life is not a library. The workplace has 35 things going on at once; silence is a rarity, not the rule - so I think it's a good thing that quiet kids are forced to stretch a bit ... and experience different classroom environments.

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