When I was a student, I could breeze through a day without answering a single question. I was a quiet, well-behaved kid who was prepared for class, and the teachers didn’t notice me. As I look around my classroom, I see lots of kids like me, kids who would rather blend into their desks than participate. Here are some strategies that encourage all students to get involved and do the thinking needed to learn.

1. Change your questioning strategy. One way to encourage all students to think about every question is by asking the question and then calling on a student. This simple refinement makes a huge difference in the level of engagement in your classroom. Think about it: If you call on a student first, who is doing the thinking? Only the student you called on. The rest of the kids can sit back and relax. Consider using some type of system to randomly call on students, such as index cards, Popsicle sticks, or an app. This way, all students are thinking since they don’t know whose name will be selected. Also, don’t discount the time-honored choral response. At times, I expect all of my students to answer in unison, especially for lower-level knowledge questions. It sounds pretty impressive to have a class of 28 students answering at the same time.

2. Send your students on a gallery walk. A gallery walk is a flexible activity that is simple to set up.

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