The Standing Quiz: Get 100% Participation, Engage Student Metacognition, and Grade None of It!

What if I told you that there is a classroom activity that . . .

  • helps students prepare for upcoming multiple choice tests,
  • promotes metacognition,
  • gets students moving,
  • strengthens longterm memory, and
  • you don’t have to grade any of it?

Not only is there such an activity, but it is the kind of activity that can be appealing to teachers from different backgrounds and different styles. If you are the kind of teacher who appreciates traditional lecture, this is for you. If you prefer a more progressive approach to teaching, this is for you. And if you like research-backed strategies, this is for you! Continue reading “The Standing Quiz: Get 100% Participation, Engage Student Metacognition, and Grade None of It!”

Blending Argument into Classroom Culture

In my most recent post, I made the case against finding balance in life, but instead working to bring the ingredients of life together through blending. At the same time as the writing of that post, I found myself in chapter four of Dave Stuart Jr’s These 6 Things: How to Focus Your Teaching on What Matters Most.

As I was reading the book a little here, and writing that post a little there, a realization dawned on me: These 6 Things is a blessed picture of blending in the classroom. I think it was a mix of the timing of my post, all my prior experience with argument, but mostly that Dave Stuart Jr. just makes so much stinking sense (seriously, you should get the book), but I will now be using These 6 Things as a lens for how to make it all blend in my classroom. Continue reading “Blending Argument into Classroom Culture”

Think-Pair-Share Is Overrated!

I have only been teaching at the high school level for 13 years, But when I entered the profession, pretty much every classroom had students sitting in rows while the teacher stood up front and lectured, gave direct instruction, read from PowerPoint slides, whatever you want to call it.

The picture is unmistakable: up front the teacher is active and talking while students passively sit and listen in their desks. Almost all classrooms looked like this, and mine was no exception. To get students more engaged, in the 1990s and 2000s, teachers were trained in different strategies, and Think-Pair-Share (TPS) was ubiquitous.

Before I go on, let me just say this: if a teacher only uses direct instruction, and the next instructional strategy he learns how to use TPS, then that teacher should absolutely use it. But if a teacher has several strategies and some skill for engagement, then it’s time to evolve to the next level. Continue reading “Think-Pair-Share Is Overrated!”