As a Chicago Public Schools teacher, I know effective whole-class discussions are part thoughtful planning and part luck. Sometimes an instructional approach works so well that we expect the same results the next time we use it. And sometimes, that works out. Other times, we wonder, “What the heck happened?”
I thought I had found another consistent way to engage as many of my students as possible in whole-class discussions. It worked really well last week. But this week, I got crickets.
Last week, we listened to a podcast about the concept of success – This American Life’s “Three Miles.” Students annotated, reflected, and shared in small groups. I also started using Padlet, an application that allows students to text a response on an electronic bulletin board. My students generated interesting commentary and rich conversations.
But this week, when I tried the same approach after we read “What it’s like to be a poor kid at an Ivy League school,” the conversation dwindled. The contributions on the electronic bulletin board seemed repetitive. Few students participated. We had dead air.
Find how my students and I saved this dying class discussion by going to the blog at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
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