Ideas to Get Students Participating in the Classroom

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.

2 thoughts on “Ideas to Get Students Participating in the Classroom”

  1. Naruwan

    Nice idea. My classes tend to have upwards of 35 students so that’s going to be a lot of sticky notes. Maybe I could appoint a student helper to assist with monitoring /removing the sticky notes. I’m definitely going to give this a go in some form or other.

  2. moran

    This is a great idea. I teach an eighth grade health class in which we have a lot of class discussion. There are always the same two or three students that want to answer questions or make comments. I get the feeling that the other students know these students are going to respond so they don’t offer to participate. I call on students who don’t raise their hands but I know I’m not as consistent as I need to be to have everyone participate.

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