Researcher Mary Budd Rowe discovered that the average teacher waits just 1.5 seconds before calling on a student. When teachers increase that time to merely three seconds, accuracy dramatically increases.
Three seconds still doesn’t feel like enough time. How can one formulate a great answer in three seconds?
One classic way to increase student thinking time is with the think-pair-share. The think-pair-share allows students to think or jot down their answer, turn and talk with a partner, then share out with the entire group. It’s effective, but can get a little boring.
Below is another strategy that I love to do, that works with kids of all ages as well as adult learning.
Concentric Circles (Total time: 10-15 minutes) Ask students to generate a question based on whatever you are teaching that day. The question must be one that they really want answered, and one that doesn’t have a “right answer”. Divide your class into groups of 10-12 students. Each group then divides into two circles, one inside the other like this:
Students on the inside face the student across from them on the outside. Students on the inside ask the student that they are facing on the outside their question, spending about a minute chatting. Then, the student on the outside asks. After a couple minutes, the inside circle rotates while the outside circle stays in place. Therefore, each partnership is different. They repeat the question and answer process. After students have met with several (or all) students in their circle, they summarize their thinking in one of the following ways.
After students have had a chance to summarize their new thinking, students now can share out to the whole class. This is one more strategy that will boost collaborative learning, thinking time, and ultimately quality participation in your classroom.