One of the things I am getting better at — and that seems to be working better in my classroom — is how I treat a whole-class question once I’ve asked it. It’s a variation on “turn and talk” or think-pair-share.
It used to be that I would choose the hand that shot up, or one of the hands that follows.
Now I let those hands shoot up, but I disregard them. “Talk to your table mates! 15 seconds!”
Suddenly everyone is the room is engaged — everyone has an opinion… or ideas… or another question. Everyone is talking to each other in their table groups, sharing what they know, what they don’t know, brainstorming, asking for clarification.
Where I once heard one voice at a time, now I’m hearing 36 voices at a time.
And that is the level of engagement I am seeking even with my routine questions now.