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Total Participation in Your Classroom

First of all I would like to say HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. 2012 was a fabulous year and I can only hope that 2013 will be as great!

I thought I would start the new year off by sharing with you my favourite professional resource that I discovered in 2012. Total Participation Techniques has transformed my teaching and allowed all my students to be more involved in lessons.

Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner

My administrator brought the book to the school at the end of August and he showed it to me. I asked to borrow it and by the time I was done the second chapter I had ordered a copy for myself.If you are anything like myself you will write all over your books to make notes. Well since it wasn’t my book I had to use sticky notes and then would transfer the notes to my book when I got it in the mail. There was a lot of recopying to do 🙂

The book has many (37 to be exact) practical techniques to involve your students in every lesson. They encourage you to have a kit in/at each child’s desk with materials ready for total participation. I am still working on this but have many materials ready in the classroom for students to use. 

I recently purchased individual whiteboards from Really Good Stuff so that students would have their own and we could stop using the flimsy laminated paper we had before. My students were very excited about having their own whiteboard.

Other great resources for students to have are Yes/No cards, multiple choice cards with A,B,C,D choices, and number cards.

The techniques allow students to mingle with peers while discussing/figuring out concepts taught. This relies on having students work with partners a lot. You can put students with partners in many ways such as desk partners, grade partners, or number partners. One of the best (and used the most in my classroom) techniques for putting students in partners is the use of an appointment card. The book goes into great detail on this partnering technique and I immediately fell in love with the practicality and ease of this technique.

Basically, students setup appointments ahead of time and when you need them to work with a partner you have them pull out their laminated appointment card and say “I want you to work with your 2pm appointment.” My students always ask if they can meet with their appointment partners and are disappointed when they choice partners in a different manner. Click on the picture of the appointment cards for a ready-to-go template.

Tip: If you have an odd number of students make sure they make an appointment where there will be 3 of them in a group.

Trust me when I say that this is the professional resource to have in EVERY classroom. I have only gone into details about one of the techniques so there are 36 more for you to explore.


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    1. I love to read about how teachers use different resources. Amazon reviews are good and all but I like it better when i can see that an actual teacher has used it.

  1. Our school uses individual whiteboards. LOVE them (especially during math). We get them cut at Home Depot. We buy one huge sheet for $12 and they cut them into 12×12 boards. One sheet makes a lot of boards (18 I think). So, they're also very inexpensive! Good tips by the way!

    1. Brilliant idea to get Home Depot to cut the boards. I should check out the one close to here and see if they do that. Thanks for this idea:)

  2. I just read an article in "Educational Leadership" on this. I am so pumped up! I cannot wait to give some of these strategies a try. It is really going to transform my teaching and student learning 🙂

    Always A Lesson

  3. I teach 7th grade social studies and am having trouble with the logistics of creating partners for the appointment card. I am on a team of 104 students divided into 4 classes. By the time I get to the end of each classes appointment cards, there's always 1 or two 'slots' I can't fill. Am I missing something?

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