Question Detail

large class issues

Mar 22, 2014 10:50pm

Are there any videos that address engaging elementary students in meaningful whole class discussion (such as collaboration wrap-ups) when the class is very large? I love the Tch videos, but in my workplace, the adult/student ratio is 1:30 on average. The dynamic is very different from the Tch classroom videos I've watched.

  • English Language Arts / Math / Science / Social Studies / Technology
  • 4
  • Behavior / Collaboration / Engagement


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    • Apr 13, 2014 2:40pm

      I don't have a video, but I begin the year teaching my students how to share, listen, and respond. Begin by introducing sentence stems and place them on the walls, then practice daily/weekly (Something I noticed is/was...; My favorite activity/book is...; I was wondering...). Choose discussion topics relevant to your students (weekend, recess, sports, books, movies) and then increase topics to include academics, open-ended questions, etc.
      Use sentence stems for responses as well and encourage validation of the prior speaker's comments which shows they are listening and value each person's comments. You should choose students randomly at first and slowly release that responsibility to each speaker.
      Eventually, students are better able to hold discussions as a whole class without losing a large group because they aren't involved. Even the shy speakers can validate another person's comments; they begin to be comfortable with hearing themselves speak aloud.
      With time, they are able to self-monitor their own discussions.

      You can teach this with small groups at first and slowly increase group size. For example, teach sentence stems, practice in groups of 4-5; then eventually combine groups into whole class discussions.

      • Mar 25, 2014 2:25pm


        All the teachers in my district have very large classes as well. I always find that Paideia seminars are great collaborative tools with a large group.

        Check out the sample protocols on the web site.

        Hope this helps,
        Katie Novak