I like for my students to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas in class. Since I have always taught in a computer lab, I have had students do their journaling on the computer. Since being re-introduced to paper and pen journaling this summer, I have used this technique for the first time in a long time. The students enjoy writing in their journals and sharing their thoughts and comments with me. I think having thoughts on paper help the shy students speak up also. I love class discussions and I never want to leave anyone out or make a student uncomfortable. So I like sharing in groups of two and using the think, pair, share model–then coming together and sharing the group’s information.
There will always be students who want to participate in discussions and those who would don’t. I use total participation techniques to make sure that all students know that the expectation is the same for all students. I may use a random number generator or pull a name out of a jar. I also find that having students either do a pair-share or a small group discussion before having a whole class discussion helps the reticent student feel more comfortable in responding to the whole gorup.
I have had a lot of success tying whatever the topic is into real life. Making sure the students are aware that these topics are applicable to them and things they enjoy. I have a large collection of articles from various news sources that really catch their interest and I find that once they see the relevance they want to participate.
I plan on having table discussions, then one from each table share what was discussed.
I plan to use journaling and group share (pair share). I will have the students write down their answers first and then share with a partner or the class.
The journaling is a great way for students take a minute to gather their thoughts before they share with someone else. Often times students know more than they think or are able to make connections they didn’t consider before they took a minute to journal.
I think it is important to ensure the learning environment is safe and that all opinions count and are appreciated.
My students often do not know each other so I think an ice breaker is important at the beginning of the term so they feel more comfortable with each other. Teaching students how to have productive, respectful discussion is important early in the term as well. I like to use a power point listing the discussion questions to keep the discussion productive and on topic. I love using pair/share techniques to involve more students in discussion and to make it easier for those who are reluctant to speak up in class.
Karen - great idea to model for students how to have great discussions and practice pair/share techniques so more are actively engaged.
I had my students look around the lab and name everything that was a computer as I wrote them on the board. With further inquiry the students were able to point out some more computers; then we established a working definition of what a computer is and they wrote this information into their journals.
I have been using partner pairs in my computer classroom for years, Class discussion begins with an essential question discussed by these partner pairs. I then get two sets of partner pairs together for additions discussion.