Total Participation Techniques

I talked to a group of teachers about Total Participation Techniques (TPT) last week.  You might know this by a different name, but it is all about getting every student in your class to be engaged during the lesson.  There are lots of great TPT ideas out there.  Here are a few of my favorite:

Think-Pair-Share: In think-pair-share, the teacher poses a challenging or open-ended question and gives students a half to one minute to think about the question. (This is important because it gives students a chance to start to formulate answers by retrieving information from long-term memory.) Students then pair with a group member or an “elbow” partner sitting nearby and discuss their ideas about the question for several minutes. The think-pair-share structure gives all students the opportunity to discuss their ideas. This is important because students start to construct their knowledge in these discussions and also to find out what they do and do not know. This active process is not normally available to them during traditional lecture.

Chalkboard Splash: Create a prompt for which you would like all students to see all of their peers’ responses. As students generate responses, ask them to copy their responses onto designated places on chalkboard/ whiteboards/chart paper. (Post-Its are great)  Ask students to walk around, analyze, and jot down similarities, differences, and surprises. (Use a graphic organizer to organize information) Ask students to get into small groups and share what they noticed in terms of similarities, differences, and surprises, before asking volunteers to share.

Thumbs Up/Down:  This is a simple and quick.  It lets you know immediately how well the students understand the concepts when using the thumbs up and thumbs down technique. Just ask them how well they “get it” by giving a thumbs up or thumbs down sign.  Allow them to show degrees of understanding by putting their thumb anywhere on the spectrum between up and down.

Another variations is to put the sign right up against the chest, so that others in the classroom have a hard time seeing it. This may be necessary in the beginning of the year, in some cases, but should decrease as trust builds in the room and students learn it’s okay to admit they don’t understand something or they are wrong about something.

I would love for you to share other TPTs you use in your classroom!


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2 Responses to Total Participation Techniques

  1. tpickering says:

    I use the thumbs up/thumbs down and writing on whiteboards. I also have students hold up 1 to 5 fingers to show how well they understood or agree with something. I ask questions that have a or b answers and the students use sign language to answer. They are supposed to show their answers right in front of their body so others can’t see. I call these “silent surveys”.

    • GREAT implementation Tracy! Melody and I observed a third grade teacher at Academy Elementary in Guymon who used neighbors and elbow partners to get her students to share and collaborate. This class was jam packed with ELL students and they were actively involved in the instructional process. It’s very important to get your students in active dialogue in the classroom especially when they are ELL students!

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