Are some students not participating enough? Are the same students always participating while others just sit? Try a tally device to make the teacher and students aware of how often they are participating in whole-class activities and/or discussions.
For each activity, place three of anything on each student’s desk—right in front for easy access and visibility. Sticky notes are good, because they aren’t interesting enough for students to want to play with them, they stay in one place, and they don’t end up on the floor. Every time a child participates in the activity, take one sticky note off his or her desk. Students left with sticky notes are quickly aware of how little they are involved.
A fun way of introducing the activity is to put the notes on each desk, but do not tell students what they are for. Just say you will be removing them, and that it is a good thing to have them removed. It is up to them to figure out why they are being removed. Students will soon figure it out. Once they understand the concept, the teacher can start over with another subject area.
This is a really helpful way for a teacher to pinpoint those students who avoid participation. The teacher will also be able to see a pattern—one student may always participate in reading, but rarely during math. This can be valuable information.
For more tips on how to get students participating in the classroom, check out Creative Classroom Ideas: Ways to Motivate, Manage, and Spice Up Your Daily Routine — and please feel free to share any tips, thoughts, or questions you may have on student participation in our comment section.