Active Participation Strategies

New Teacher Guide - Active Participation Strategies

Active participation is the consistent engagement of the minds of all students with that which is to be learned.

The following strategies must utilize the key attribute that every student must show their signal, card, slate, etc. at the same time. The teacher says “1, 2, 3 show” or has students signal with their eyes closed. Remember to:

  • call on non-volunteers, not students with their hands raised
  • allow wait time before calling on a student
  • place the student’s name at the end of the question
  • allow the students to answer your questions by not answering them yourself

I. Quick Strategies to check student’s understanding during any point in the lesson:

1. Hand signals:
  • thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate agreement or disagreement
  • use fingers to indicate a number selection such as “Which is the correct solution one, two or three?”
  • teacher gives feedback to the students
2. Whiteboards/Slates
  • student writes answer or solution to a question posed by the teacher
  • teacher solicits all students to show at the same time
  • teacher gives feedback to the students
3. Think-pair-share
  • teacher presents a question
  • teacher gives wait time for student to form answer
  • teacher instructs students to share their answer with a partner
  • teacher calls on non-volunteers to share with the class
4. Numbered Heads
  • students number off in a group from 1 to 4
  • teacher poses a question
  • group discusses the answer
  • teacher selects a number from 1 to 4 and asks all students who represent that number to raise their hand
  • teacher calls on a non-volunteer or uses a random method to generate a number such as rolling die
  • teacher provides feedback
5. Pass or Play
  • teacher poses a question and gives wait time
  • teacher calls on a student and asks them “pass or play?”
  • student says “play” if they wish to answer the question or “pass to _________” if they want to pass to a specific classmate
6. Paraphrase
  • student writes down one or two main ideas directly from the text or notes
  • student now paraphrases these ideas in their own words
  • teacher provides feedback
7. Identification
  • teacher instructs the student to underline, circle, star, or highlight key vocabulary or key concepts
  • teacher provides feedback

II. Strategies for Teacher/Student Actions (these may take prior preparation for materials):

8. Response cards:
  • cards are prepared by the teacher in advance
  • cards contain specific responses such as the different types of screwdrivers or knives
  • teacher poses a question that can be answered by the cards
  • student holds up his/her choice after the teacher solicits the showing of all cards by students
  • teacher gives feedback to the students
9. Movement or Spectrum
  • teacher poses a question and then asks and labels two ends with “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree”
  • students stand up and move to rank their opinions on a continuum and are ready to provide justification for their placement
  • students stand up or sit down in agreement or disagreement to a provided statement
  • students nod or shake their head to indicate agreement or disagreement
  • students turn to their neighbor and discuss the item when prompted by the teacher
  • students star or highlight information according to teacher direction
  • teacher provides feedback
10. Poster Rotation or Gallery Walk
  • teacher posts prompts on posters
  • students rotate to charts and provide a written response to the prompt
  • after rotating to all posters, the teacher may instruct them to rotate again to star or highlight the most important piece of information or their favorite from all that the class provided
  • teacher debriefs the class with another strategy
11. Four Stations or Four Corners
  • teacher posts questions, photos, quotes, etc. at four (or more) stations around the room
  • teacher assigns groups of students to each station
  • students discuss and take notes
  • after the teacher calls time, the students rotate to another station
  • when students have visited all stations, students return to their desks to do an individual assessment
12. Sort
  • teacher provides lists of items, ideas, concepts, statements, tools, etc. on individual cards
  • teacher instructs small groups of students to sort these items
  • teacher asks groups to assign a label for each of their groups
  • teacher calls on non-volunteer groups to present while other groups check to see if the original groups’ labels match theirs
13. Jumbled sort
  • teacher supplies each student or group of students with random strips of instructions, key words, safety procedures, etc, and asks them to put the strips in order
  • teacher calls on non-volunteers to contribute their sorted material
14. Give One-Get One
  • teacher instructs students to draw a vertical line down the middle of a sheet of paper
  • teacher poses a question or problem
  • student writes 3-5 ideas in the left column
  • teacher calls time and instructs the students to rotate to other students and exchange ideas
  • each student writes any new ideas gained from partner in the right column
  • teacher debriefs ideas by any active participation strategy
15. Predict
  • teacher groups students
  • teacher reads a scenario
  • teacher asks the groups to predict the outcome
  • teacher has the individual student respond or may have the group designate a scribe to write their group’s response
  • teacher has groups share while the other groups compare/contrast their responses or teacher collects the writings
16. Jigsaw
  • teacher divides the class into groups
  • teacher supplies each group with a separate reading selection for each group member
  • each group member reads their selection and prepares to teach their reading to the other group members
  • each member teaches their portion
  • teacher checks with all students using an active participation strategy to see that they have acquired the critical learning
17. K-W-L
  • teacher instructs students prior to a reading, video, lecture, etc, to write down what they already know about a subject, what they would like to learn about the subject
  • teacher has students read, watch, listen
  • teacher has students highlight, star, circle the questions that were answered
  • teacher has students add to the list things that they learned from the lesson
18. Drill
  • teacher has students drill each other on facts, vocabulary identification or symbols
  • teacher does an active participation strategy to check all students
19. Graphic Organizer
  • teacher presents graphic organizers, like a concept map, light bulb, etc. to the students to complete during a presentation
  • teacher debriefs students
20. A-B Partner Teach
  • partner A turn to partner B
  • tell or teach your partner the two most important things you have learned so far about...
  • switch roles and repeat the process
  • teacher calls on non-volunteers

III. Strategies for Closure or End of Unit Assessment:

21. Draw a picture, design a t-shirt, bumper sticker or create a logo
  • teacher instructs students to create a picture to summarize information, a demonstration that has been given, etc.
  • teacher may have students share or may collect the products
22. Sky Writing
  • teacher instructs students to write their answer to a question in the air while silently thinking about the idea
  • teacher provides feedback
23. Outcome Statements
  • teacher gives the following prompts
    1. I now understand...
    2. I would like to know more about . . .
    3. I need more help with . . .
    4. I could teach someone else to . . .
  • teacher collects their written responses or does a think-pair-share
24. 3-2-1
  • teacher passes out index cards or pieces of paper
  • teacher instructs students to write down 3 important terms, 2 key ideas or facts they would like to know more about, and 1 skill or concept that they have mastered
  • teacher uses another active participation strategy to debrief or collects the paper
25. Exit Ticket or Evidence Bag
  • teacher passes out a printed exit ticket to each student
  • teacher poses a closure question or asks students to write down two additional questions about the learning
  • teacher collects as students leave and assesses after class
26. 12 Word Summary
  • in 12 words or less, summarize the most important aspects from today's lesson
  • teacher uses a strategy to check all
27. Letter or Note to a Friend
  • teacher instructs students to write a note to a friend or absent classmate explaining the learning
  • teacher uses think-pair-share or collects to review
28. Alphabet Summary or Learning from A to Z
  • after an activity, demonstration or explanation the teacher assigns a different letter of the alphabet to each student
  • each student is asked to think of one word or idea that starts with that letter that relates to the lesson
  • teacher calls on non-volunteers
29. Minute paper or Quick Write
  • teacher provides a prompt from the lesson
  • students have one minute to write down a summary of the key points
  • students compare with a partner
  • teacher uses a strategy to check all
30. Snapshot
  • teacher provides a prompt from the lesson
  • students must write a “snapshot” of the lesson in 25 words or less
  • teacher uses a strategy to check all
31. Parking Lot
  • teacher provides a place or “parking lot” for students to use a post–it to place questions or concerns
  • if a student has no questions or concerns, he/she may answer one of those posted by another student
  • teacher uses a strategy to make sure all questions have been answered
  • teacher uses a strategy to check all
32. Find Someone Who...
  • teacher provides a handout with questions
  • each student must find someone in the class who knows the answer to that question
  • student who knows the answer signs the paper for student one
  • first student then must find a different person to answer another of the questions
  • this process continues until someone has a filled out sheet or time is called by the teacher
  • teacher provides feedback
33. Idea Wave
  • each student lists 3 to 5 ideas about the assigned topic
  • the teacher calls on a non-volunteer to begin the "idea wave" by sharing one idea
  • the student to the right of the first non-volunteer shares one idea; then the student to the non-volunteer’s right shares one idea
  • the teacher directs the flow of the "idea wave" until all different ideas have been shared by asking each student
  • at the end of the formal "idea wave," students will rank their top 3 ideas
34. Socratic Seminar--Use a Socratic Seminar to help students
  • facilitate their own discussion and arrive at a new understanding in which they learn to formulate questions and address issues in lieu of just stating their opinions
  • students engage in a focused discussion in which they ask questions of each other on a selected topic; questions initiate the conversation, which continues with a series of responses and further questions
35. Fishbowl
  • students are arranged in two concentric circles
  • students in the outer circle are asked to engage in a discussion with their counterpart in the inner circle or answer a guided question
  • inner circle students listen, respond and evaluate
  • roles change and the inner circle students respond while the outer circle students listen, respond and evaluate
  • teacher provides feedback
36. Talking Chips
  • teacher poses a question for students to discuss
  • each student is given a "chip" (small square of construction paper or a "real chip")
  • each student takes turns "talking" by placing their CHIP into the center of the table.
  • the first person to talk may only talk at that time - and may not speak again until all in the group members have placed their "chip" in the middle
  • repeat process...
  • teacher provides feedback

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Lesson Closing Activities
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