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How can I get all students involved in class discussions?

ALL students benefit from substantive discussions. Recording a lesson for later analysis and self-reflection will help improve the quality of questioning and conversations within your classroom. Perhaps your responses are discouraging rather than encouraging student input. The second and third items below can help you see if you need to improve the responses you make to student contributions.

Tools

Descriptions

Questions and students' mental tasks

This chart will help you analyze your classroom discussions and determine the type of discussion, the questions asked, grouping and uses of language.

Teacher's questions: object-based or response-based?

Use this chart to determine if questions are object- or response-based. Also it will help you analyze student responses and their effects on classroom discussion.

Constructing essential questions Powerful, carefully worded, essential questions can intrigue students and pull them into class discussions and related assignments.

Responses to students' comments

Use this tool to analyze your responses to students and see what you can do to facilitate better discussions.

Involving socially and culturally diverse students This chart presents research-based strategies for more effective reaching out to socially and culturally diverse learners.

Developing questions that reveal student thinking

This chart provides question stems for open-ended questioning that will facilitate good discussions.

Helping students become discussion leaders This resource introduces Rick Womeli's "human videotape" strategy as a way to give all students an opportunity to become discussion leaders.

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