Student-to-teacher and student-to-student interactions can be enhanced through the following activities:
- Academic Relays –
- Find Your Partner – each student is given a vocabulary card with either a definition or a term written on it. Students are asked to find the matching card. Then students share with the class the pairs they have made.
- Group Consensus – the teacher asks specific review questions. Students seated in groups of 4 or 5 write their answers and share them with other group members. Groups must discuss until they reach consensus. The group answer is submitted to the teacher. Points can be scored if the teacher chooses to make the review competitive.
- Line Up – Have students line up based on an attribute such as birthdays. Pair off the last person with the first person to share ideas or answers for questions that require an opinion/prediction.
- Mix and Match – Pass out cards to individuals. The cards should be able to be matched up with another person, ex. vocabulary/definition, equation/answer. Each person is able to walk around and read and help each other with their card. They can trade if they want. The teacher calls time and everyone has to find their partner and then share out with everyone.
- Red Light Green Light – Post group created posters around the room. Have each group go to their poster and assign each person in the group a letter. Call out a letter and the person with that letter stays at their poster while the rest of the group moves clockwise. The person who stays then explains their poster to the next group. Choose another letter and then that letter stays while the group moves on. That person will now be explaining a poster that they did not create. This is a good listening/speaking activity. You should give the ELs the same letter and call that letter first so that they can explain their poster first and then their letter will not be called to explain a poster that they did not create.
- Reel – Pair up in 2 lines, you can have them number off 1,2 or assign each student a number. Place the ELs in line 2. Have the number 1’s share and idea with their partner. Ideally this should be a thought provoking or opinion type question. After the 1’s share have the 2’s share. All of the 1’s will then move one person down and the first person at the line will go to the back (like an old fashioned reel.) The new pairs will then share with each other.
- Snowballs – Count off by 1,2. Have all students write their name along with a statement/prediction/thought on a piece of paper. Have the 1’s throw their paper. The 2’s retrieve a snowball and find the person. The person who wrote the statement explains their answer to the other person. Everyone goes back to their seat and the 2’s throw their snowball and the 1’s retrieve and look for the person.
- Think/Pair/Share/Write – Pose a question or thought to the class. Give students time to think about their answer and then have them write on a card. Share with a neighbor/shoulder buddy. Have some students share with class.
- Traveling Jigsaw – Divide students into groups and have them make a poster/graphic organizer about the lesson. Hang posters on the wall. Assign each poster a letter and give each person in the group a letter that matches one of the posters. Send the group to the poster that matches the letter they have. Once they are at the poster the person with that letter will explain the poster to the group. The idea is for each group to be comprised of a person who helped to create each poster. The groups then shift clockwise and another person will explain their poster.
Sufficient Wait Time
In most classrooms, students are typically given less than one second to respond to a question posed by a teacher. Research shows that under these conditions students generally give short, recall responses or no answer at all rather than giving answers that involve higher-level thinking. Increasing the wait time from three to seven seconds results in an increase in:
1) the length of student responses
2) the number of unsolicited responses
3) the frequency of student questions
4) the number of responses from less capable children
5) student-student interactions
6) the incidence of speculative responses. In addition to pausing after asking questions, research shows that many of these same benefits result when teachers pause after the student’s response to a question, and when teachers do not affirm answers immediately.