Monday, December 21, 2009

Interactive Teaching: Techniques for Engaging Students

With interactive teaching, often you may want students to respond to a question you have displayed with your LCD projector or on your interactive whiteboard. However, only one student at a time can use the interactive whiteboard to respond to a question. In my classroom, it was a concern of mine that the other 24 students would not be engaged and actively thinking about an answer to a question if they were not selected to use the whiteboard.

Student response systems are excellent interactive teaching technology tools that allow all students to respond to a question instantaneously and that allow teachers to gather data about their responses, but it is often unrealistic for every classroom in a school to have their own set of response systems or “clickers.”

There are several easy and inexpensive interactive teaching techniques to keep all students involved when posing a question on your interactive whiteboard. The first technique is to give each student a red square and a green square made out of construction paper. When a student answers a question on the interactive whiteboard, have the rest of the class hold up a green square if they agree with the answer or a red square if they do not agree. Then, have a discussion about their responses. (Sometimes it helps to have students hold their squares up on the count of three or to cover their eyes before holding up a square to prevent them from checking out their neighbor’s square before answering.)

Another interactive teaching technique is to provide each student with a small wipe off marker board and marker. In my classroom, I expected all students to answer the question presented on the interactive whiteboard by using their own wipe off boards. This allowed me to walk around the room and see which students understood a concept and which needed my assistance.

Individual wipe off boards were very motivating for my students because they knew if they participated they may have the opportunity to answer on the interactive whiteboard. It was also helpful for students who were afraid to answer incorrectly in front of the class because they knew I would only choose them to use the interactive whiteboard if they had written the correct answer in advance. Those students gained confidence in their answers and in sharing their knowledge with their peers in a safe atmosphere.

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