Throwdown Thursday 7/4

I'm linking up (a day late) with  I'm Lovin Lit to discuss how I make learning more interactive for my students!

This is an area I have definitely grown in during my teaching career.  I rememebr the very moment that my thinking began to change.  During an evaluation my principal suggested that after I posed a question to the group, have the students turn and talk in partners.  I thought she was cray cray, but I tried it.  It was then, that the switch occurred, I went from a giver of info, to a facilitator of learning.

Now my students sit in heterogenous groups of 4.  A high, med, med low and low kiddo make up each group..that way there is a support system built in.  They have a shoulder partner and a face partner to interact with at all times!  I have explicitly taught them how to appropriately work with a another person.. greetings, departings and where your eyes and attention should be!

I also use a bit of technology to keep them engaged.  However, the interactive piece comes into play with these little "activvoters" on their desks at ALL times.  They are connected to the interactive white board at the front of the room.  My little rock stars text in answers, answer multiple choice questions, and my favorite check for understanding!
At the beginning and end of each lesson they rate how well they understand the learning target.  That way I know exactly who to target as I teach, and who to pull for small group to reteach. 

My school also has iPads for students to use.  One of my favorite new (free) apps is Popplet. You can use it on a computer also, but not in safari :(.  Even if there are only 5 iPads available  (we share) I can have them work as a team to build a graphic organizer to organize their thinking related to the lesson at hand. Each student makes a contribution.   Here is an example of one below (not one of mine)

So what do you do to keep things interactive in the classroom? Link up with Erin and share your ideas.


  1. Hi Amanda! Love the science Popplet you posted!I just found your blog, I’m your newest follower!
    Science for Kids Blog

  2. I'm with you, Amanda. It took me a bit to get used to the "turn and talk" idea, but once I did, I loved it! I was fortunate to have a Kagan trainer in my building the last three years and she was so helpful with my cooperative learning questions. I did really well my first two years teaching the kids how to work together, but I failed a little in that this last year. I think it had to do with the group--they were one of "those" groups--but I'm definitely going to try to do better next year.

    Teaching Little Miracles


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