Saturday, March 3, 2012

Classroom Tip #7 Encourage a Winning Classroom

Goal: Think of creative ways for your students to contribute or practice during class.

Solutions for a large class:

Larger classes pose one problem: you can't pay as much individual attention to your students. However, the good thing about these types of classes is that your semesters are usually longer, which means you can track their growth and troubleshoot them better.

A key I've learned is to have them practice! practice! practice!!

- Try your best to spread the questions around

It's always easy to call on the smart kids who want to answer everything. But you have to spread that opportunity around to keep others nimble on their toes. You know that kid in the back who you never call on? Start calling on them.

A good technique I learned from one of my co-teachers was employ more team work through One Answer Per Person games. Students answer only once for their team but are able to discuss/pass answers with their teammates before answering. While technique occasionally tolerates a lazy brain, it encourages verbal participation amongst everyone and boosts student morale even amongst lower level students. When my slower students can give an answer - even when they've been given the answer from classmates- it encourages their participation and this is vital to the dynamics of the class.

- Utilize group practice or teamwork

During practice sessions, I have students work in team anywhere from  2+ or have them answer as a group. Even if I play games by large teams, I tell them EVERYONE needs to answer as a team; if I see one person not answering, they will lose their chance. Then I fully employ that rule. "Oh, sorry, this point doesn't count-- one person didn't answer. Next team...". Kids are funny- usually, they know who that one person is and because this way of responding is simple (I allow the kids to discuss the answer before giving it to me) the kids will rally up on that kid who doesn't answer.

Do you have any tips you've learned on the field that have helped encourage winning situations in your classroom? Please share them.

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