So I’m sure you all have had a classroom mixture of the talkers, the class clowns, the quiet ones (usually in the back), the shy ones, the ones who always have the correct answers, the ones who always answer but are rarely correct. 😁

Shocked panic teacher holding hands on head and screaming in despair and frustration.

I’ve had those problems all my 20+ years of teaching. That eclectic mix of students that teachers expect, but it drives us crazy! I’m not even talking about differentiation of content. Because even in the same class, with most students on the same academic level, you will have a unique mix of excitable, charismatic talkers, and still the ones who barely, if ever speak – on stuff THEY KNOW.

Class of attentive students who are content NOT speaking

So it is in this frame of mind that I had to developed a new way to have students discuss content and texts in class. That was about 10+ years ago, that I developed this simple change to my class discussions.

Nevermore was this more needed for me to revisit and bring these back this year.

Teaching after Pandemic year slapped us all in the face.

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My 5th period Advanced Placement English Literature class was packed with wonderful, intellectual students; they were truly great individuals, but were cliquish and or staunch individuals. Getting them to discuss works as a group or class was distressing.

It was exhausting! T.C. would speak, Mariann was add her two cents, then crickets. Then, I’d have to play dentist and pull teeth to get others to speak. “Kevin, what did you think?” “Chloe, do you agree that the character was malicious?” It became daunting to expect these seniors to talk about our reading every class.

Some days, I would get to the car, open, sit down, and just not move. I was so tired from “playing dentist” to try to get anything out of these students. They knew the information, but just didn’t gel with each other or didn’t want to share it with me. 😁

Exhausted teacher rubs nose, takes off spectacles, suffers from eye strain and headache, has problems trying to get students to participate in classroom discussions.

So I revisited some of my past lessons and noticed I hadn’t tried my “Standing Discussion Parties” in a while. I’ve gotten so used to students talking when I put them in groups or in class discussions, I’ve forgotten that some of these eclectic mixes exist.

I was pumped! I will resume this cool activity that I hadn’t used in years.

Excited teacher having brilliant idea, finding inspiration or solution to problem

Fast forward, months after my epiphany, I have started to use this technique, which is literally just a variation on having classroom discussions, almost like going to a gallery or museum exhibit. Check out the video of how well it went with one of our readings.

One of my Standing Discussion Parties

So whenever you swing by my classroom or pick up one of my LESSON ACTIVITIES products on https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Angry-Teacher-Store when you see students moving around with their questions sheets or you see Standing Discussion Party” in one of my products that’s what’s going on. 😁

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