California Educator

June/July 2019

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walk around, reading over their shoul- ders and writing things like, "That's good. Say that!" on the papers of quieter or less confident students. I can also see which and how many students are stuck, so I know if I need to add more scaffolding. Pairs and squares I assign students a partner (pair) to work with for three weeks, as well as a square (two pairs com- bined). I promote camaraderie in pairs and squares by having students learn each other's names (with spelling and pronunciation), gender pronouns, and something people can't tell by looking at them. They also make up a handshake they use each day to greet each other. They talk in their pairs from bell to bell between direct instruction about the topics of the day. Currently, my sophomores are engaging in a non- fiction unit on happiness, so today we discussed the correlation between money and happiness. Students worked in their pairs to annotate an article, but when we analyzed some rather complex graphs and charts, they moved into their squares so they could have more brainpower. After three weeks, each student thanks their partner for something they did for them and shares what they think was the pair's best moment together. By the end of the year, every student has worked with every other classmate (either in pairs or squares), which promotes a strong classroom community and helps students feel more comfortable participating. Nonverbal agreement or disagreement I have my students use American Sign Language signs for "yes" and "no" in whole class discussion to show their agreement or disagree- ment with the speaker. This keeps students engaged, gives the speaker immediate feedback on their ideas, and gives all students a nonverbal voice. Talk Time for All 9 strategies to encourage more students to speak up in class By Rosie Reid W H I L E I T I S P O S S I B L E to learn by listening, I've found that oral partici- pation leads to greater gains in student literacy and engagement. English learners in particular benefit from ample talk time, but they are not the only ones. Yet I've also found that without careful planning, a few students do most of the talking while the majority of the class remains silent. My students all have ideas, but only some of them share those ideas on a regular basis. Adding wait time after I ask a question helps more students get into the conversation, but still the more confident students are more likely to raise their hands. Because of this, I pay close attention to who is participating in my high school English classroom and to the structures I'm using to promote participa- tion. I mix and match from the following strategies depending on the students in the room and my goals for the lesson. Who talks first? When students turn and talk in pairs, I decide who talks first. The person on the right? The person whose birthday is coming soonest? The person with the longest hair? Without this direction, some stu- dents dominate partner talk time. Write, pair, share Many of us use the think, pair, share model, but substituting writing for silent thinking can improve both the quality of the conver- sation and the number of students who contribute. As students write, I 51 J U N E / J U L Y 2 019 T 1 2 3 4

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