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Monday, November 29, 2010

How do you attain participation?

Howdy folks, and welcome back from Thanksgiving break. I hope all of you had a great one and didn't just stuff yourself with stuffing.

I think that one of my little girls indulged a bit too much over the holidays. As I was right in the middle of a fantastic demonstration on arrays, I suddenly heard the sound of 500 wet paperclips hitting the floor. I looked over to see a big splotch of turkey-colored vomit on the ground.

"Go to the bathroom!" I shouted at her. She replied by standing up, turning towards the door -- and then retching a fresh batch of puke onto the ground.

Anyway, this Interactive Monday post is NOT how do you feel about vomit, so we'll end THAT topic here.

Instead, my question is, How do you attain participation in class? We always seem to have those kids that come in day after day with nothing better to do than try to impersonate a brick. Sometimes these are kids who do fantastic on tests, but they never talk in class. Sometimes they are kids who fail horribly in class and never raise their hands in class. Sometimes it's the vast majority of the class!

I am finally getting to a point this year where most of my kids are participating. There are still a few who very rarely volunteer anything in class, but something is a big improvement over nothing. To get to this point, I have used a combination of bribery, parent conferences, student conferences, threatening to give them a failing "participation grade" -- which is about as existent as the "wardrobe selection grade" -- and, in some cases, what borders on badgering.

So any other strategies out there? How do you get participation from your "bricks?"


Amy @ Juice Boxes + Crayolas said...

It's probably not "best practice," but every once in awhile I will tell the kiddos that I am giving a grade for participation that day, grab a clip board, and make tallies next to names of kids who raise their hands to share or participate in Think-Pair-Share conversations. Usually a few students will get REALLY into it because they care about their grade, and the rest will kind of follow suit just because their friends are participating.

Other times I will have kids toss a beanie baby to a friend to call on them to share next. Neither are fool proof, but they're something to mix things up!

Karen said...

I use the Random Name Generator. They never know when their name will pop up so they have to pay attention.

Mister Teacher said...

Miss, I do that very same thing -- the "fake out" to try to get them involved. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Karen, my Random Name Generator is in my head. :)