Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner

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I then ask the outside circle to take two steps to the left until they are in front of a new person. They now talk about the same prompt to a new person. As kids are moving around their circles, I move around the lines, listening to their conversations to see who has a developed sense of character and who needs more work on character development. This strategy works best with more open-ended, opinions, judgements, or prompts that need one to justify his or her rationale.

If you ask a literal or fact-based question, your line up technique will not be as successful or as powerful. This works with all subjects and it helps me if I spend time thinking about what the big ideas of the unit are and then create prompts to use throughout the lessons. This helps students learn to converse back and forth and develop more detailed answers to satisfy their partners who are listening to them.

This is a great technique to use to develop listening, summarizing and critical thinking skills. Students are given a template with nine boxes and those boxes have questions the teacher prepares inside them. Students move around to their classmates and they listen to each other and get information from their peer "experts". Students have to summarize what the peer expert stated and then summarize their answer into the corresponding box. The owner of the template is the one who must write the answer in the box.

This is crucial because it helps them engage with what their peer said and it helps the student develop the processing skills through listening to each other. If you let others write on the template, then it becomes very passive. The students can only use a peer one time for a question so they will be talking to nine different students. The teacher's job is to walk around and see the quick assessment of what the students have learned well. The question boxes that remain blank let me know what is still difficult for my students. After students have finished, share out as a class what they learned.

Higher order questions allow students to synthesize, analyze, and evaluate the components of the concepts. This simple activity encourages kids to talk to others they usually do not talk to.

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It helps build community in the classroom so I really like to use it at the beginning of the year while I am building my community culture. I prepare up to four prompts or questions and then I have the students prepare their answers first. I then have them find someone they have not spoken to that day to share the answers to the prompt or question. I play music while they are sharing and then when the music stops, they thank their partner and go find someone else they have not talked with to be their second person.

We repeat this through the four questions. In our first science investigation, we used this technique and the students answered the following questions: Explain why mass and release position changes how a pendulum swings. Second, why did the swinger decrease the number of times it could swing in 15 seconds if the length of the swinger changed? Third, what generalizations can be made about pendulums and their length, mass, and release position and fourth, what other pendulums can you think of in your world and what are they most affected by: the mass, length, or release position?


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This technique helps students understand characteristics of concepts that are varied. Some examples include geometric shapes, prime and composite numbers, factors, multiples, short and long vowels. This provides students with opportunities to see how we can sort different ways and still be correct.


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I have pulled books and asked students to sort them according to their genres. The students must have a reason for placing the books in specific categories. When categorizing, have the students generate the titles for each category as they make their groups. When sorting, the teacher determines the names and traits for the groups and the students sort within those piles.

This technique helps students understand features of the concepts that are being presented and it helps them pay attention to specific traits needed for understanding the overarching concepts. This also helps them develop their ability to justify their reasoning for the way they have categorized or sorted.

Students make appointments with other students to give them another variety of partners to talk or work with during lessons. I let them choose the first five people and then I fill in their choices for the rest of the appointments. Each person can only be on an appointment card one time.

As they walk around to a partner they want to talk with, they find a slot both have open and then write each other's name on that time slot. I have them keep a copy in their book boxes and I keep one as well. Once we share with our specific appointments, I have those pairs join another pair and now share in a small group. What I have found is when I keep adding to the pairs, my students are sharing more openly and staying more engaged. When I was asking them to share whole group, I would have some students disengage and wait for others to do the talking.

When the groups were smaller, they were more likely to continuing sharing their responses. These cards give my students something to say when they are stuck, shy or just need a starter to help them get the discussion going. When I have my students get into one of their predetermined small groups to do a book talk or discussion, they pull out their Bounce Cards to help them with starters when they are stuck. I start when I teach the 10 Steps to Independence Daily 5. During these steps, we model the right way and the wrong way to do something. They can either Bounce, or take an idea and bounce it off their group members, Sum It Up, or rephrase what someone else has said, or finally, they can Ask a Question regarding what their peers say.

The more I can do guided practice with this technique, the more effective it is when I release control and let them engage in small group discussions. I will model for the first few weeks of school and then release the control by letting them decide when it is time to go on to the next prompt. I always debrief when finished with these discussions as it helps them share what was hard and what went well during these discussion groups.

This technique allows students to get up out of their seats to work in small groups. Text features work well with this technique as students can analyze pictures, diagrams, maps, charts, tables, graphs, and any other supports that will aid in the comprehension of a text.

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Choose four features from the text and make enlarged, page sized photocopies. I have 26 students so I make three sets of the four pictures and put my students in their predetermined groups of three. I like groups of three because then everyone talks and shares in the groups. I hang these picture sets all around my room and I have the students move through the room and discuss a prompt I give them to answer while analyzing the pictures.

Some prompts I have used include: how does this text feature help you understand the topic better? Why would I have chosen these pictures as important to focus on today? What is the message being conveyed by using these pictures?

11 Total Participation Techniques That Involve Movement | imubular.tk

Brainstorm all the people who would be affected by the meaning behind this text feature. Tell how they are being affected by this feature. The most important thing about this picture or text feature is… I let them reflect individually first and then I have them share with each other. After a few minutes, I ring my chimes and they all move the same direction to look at the next picture or text feature. The silent processing minute I give them is critical in encouraging students to think below the surface and develop their thoughts regarding the text feature.

Rating details. Sort order. Jul 08, Shannon rated it it was amazing Shelves: I'll admit, I rolled my eyes most of the way through the first chapter of this book. More of the same, I thought. I already know to do this, I thought. But it was definitely a good reality check for me -- even after only six years of teaching, it was easy for me to climb onto the totally unproductive "I don't have anything to learn from this" train. Yes, some of the strategies are familiar. Yes, you already know it's important to involve students. But what I so appreciated about this book was its I'll admit, I rolled my eyes most of the way through the first chapter of this book.

But what I so appreciated about this book was its relentless focus on using familiar strategies and twisting them or taking them a step further to improve higher level thinking that higher level focus is what bumped it from 4 stars to 5.

These are authors who truly practice what they preach. If I had an opportunity to take a college-level course from them, I absolutely would. That said, the pictures of the students on the front of this book are somewhat misleading. The strategies covered would be very appropriate for all grades, especially in high school content area classes and at universities.

I support independent bookstores. Oct 14, Kathy rated it it was amazing. Excellent book of strategies to get students to participate in their learning. I know it will take time and practice to really implement the strategies and get reluctant students to participate, but the premise is valuable and makes so much sense. I wish I could find some videos of the techniques being implemented to get a feel for the classroom placement of students and resources Jan 26, Michelle rated it really liked it. Excellent, practical strategies for increasing student engagement.

Jul 21, Kaia rated it it was amazing. This book has many practical techniques for increasing student participation in classrooms K-university. It is structured in a way that focuses on how to implement the techniques well, and the authors provide multiple examples of how a technique may be used with various content. Great resource for all teachers. Jun 26, Marc Daly rated it it was amazing. This book provides strategies for student participation that increase engagement and learning. The techniques can be used with kindergarten students through graduate students.

I look forward to using the suggestions to improve student participation. Jul 27, Laura rated it it was amazing. One of the most useful resources I have bought as a teacher - every teacher, regardless of age they are working with, should have this book. Jul 21, Kathleen rated it liked it. Great ideas, but needs to update the technology section to incorporate new methods for TPT. Mar 13, Rebecca Malone rated it it was ok. Not much meat in this. Mar 20, Scott Moore rated it really liked it. Jun 24, Melody Slagter rated it it was amazing Shelves: education. Looking forward to implementing these techniques!

Helpful and provides explanation of how to effectively apply these strategies. Dec 17, Deanne Smith rated it it was amazing. Every educator needs to read this book!! It has transformed my teaching and my classroom. It contains the practical techniques I wish I had learned in graduate school. Feb 21, Heather rated it liked it Shelves: education-to-read. There were a lot of great ideas for engaging students. Unfortunately for me, it was geared for upper elementary, middle school and high school.

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Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner

There are some usable ideas but primarily it will take a lot of work to make it work for a lower elementary classroom. May 29, Julie Aquilina rated it liked it Shelves: teaching. A couple TPT's I haven't seen before. A whole bunch I have. I wonder: is this then truly, "total participation"? I'm thinking that using web 2. Mar 19, Bethe rated it it was ok Shelves: professional.

This book has more applications for the classroom than the library setting. That said, I was surprised in a good way to see a mention of reading aloud and that it is okay for students to just sit and listen and enjoy the book. I got some pointers from the section on classroom clickers to apply to my lessons using a set of SMART Response in the library.

The physical response techniques remind me that very often in education: what goes around, comes around. Back 24 years ago when I was a ro This book has more applications for the classroom than the library setting. Back 24 years ago when I was a rookie bilingual teacher, TPR total physical response was the hot strategy. I was also glad to see the sources and references were up to date, very few prior to the year , most from the late s. Jul 24, Jason rated it liked it.

While I didn't particularly care for the authors' writing, this book does contain some solid, practical teaching strategies for increasing the level of student engagement in lessons. One cannot underestimate the importance of purposefully planning for student engagement.


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  6. It was satisfying to recognize so many of the strategies as those that I see in the classrooms in our school. I truly have a school full of top notch teachers! I'm looking forward to doing a book study with them on this topic. T While I didn't particularly care for the authors' writing, this book does contain some solid, practical teaching strategies for increasing the level of student engagement in lessons. The discussions should be rich. Aug 05, Cassie Cox rated it liked it.

    I had high hopes for this book when I purchased it, but I was left a bit underwhelmed. Perhaps this is because I felt like I had read about all of these techniques in other books. Perhaps because I did not close the last page excited about having something new to try out in my classroom. If you have never read books on keeping students engaged and on creating a class with total engagement from all students, then this is a good starting point; however, if you are not new to this particular strand I had high hopes for this book when I purchased it, but I was left a bit underwhelmed.

    If you have never read books on keeping students engaged and on creating a class with total engagement from all students, then this is a good starting point; however, if you are not new to this particular strand of books, simply return to books you've read on this subject and take a refresher course. Oct 23, Andi rated it it was amazing Shelves: teaching , millersville.

    Although I was already familiar with some of these techniques, I really enjoyed reading this book. It is also not just for elementary teachers, but also for secondary. My students enjoy some of these methods I have incorporated into my lessons. It also really makes me want to revamp the way I teach to make sure that I am asking them questions that make them think and analyze, etc.

    Nov 04, Kerrie rated it really liked it.

    EP103 Five total participation techniques to make every student an active learner