Series: Sarah Brown Wessling's Visit to Tulare County Schools

The Stand-Up Game: A Classroom Strategy
Lesson Objective: Encourage active participation through the stand-up game
All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Wessling make this game a low-stakes activity?
  2. How does this game promote active listening and participation?
  3. Ms. Wessling says she often uses this game for her early morning classes. When might you use this game in your own classroom?

With this method you are giving your classroom the insentive and choice that if they share a piece of information with the class they are able to take a seat at their desk.  This not only keeps people awake and focused on what their classmate is saying but also helps to reinforce information learned in previous classes. 

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I like this concept of reversing the way the students should be engaged in the classroom. The teacher is not forcing anyone to talk, but it does give everyone the equal opportunity  to share because their main goal is to sit down. It not only wakes up the students, but uses reverse pychology on the students. Typically, students hate to share their thoughts or answers, but with this game they would hate to be the only one standing or not sharing. I can see teachers modifying this for thier classrooms and fitting it for the needs of their students.

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I get that Ms.Wessling is a high school teacher, but sleepy students are an epidemic all the way down to k-5th grade. I am going to implement this game in my 5th grade classrooom and make it 5th grade friendly! I have a student this year who is a chronic sleeper and it has been documented throughout his elementary career. Hopefully this will help him change that. 

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Good idea but I noticed many have asked, "When the child still does not answer, what is the best suggestion?" Get everyone to sit down? Or encourage until all have answered? I have 40 students in my class by the way :)

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I use this in my classroom now.  Like Sarah, I was frustrated with the kids's lack of engagement.  I always announce "It's time for the stand-up game".  My kids usually give a brief response and they all hate to be the "last man/woman standing". They aren't thrilled by it, but they do smile at my enthusiasm and participate. 

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  • The Stand-Up Game: A Classroom Strategy Transcript

    Speaker 1: One of my favorite strategies for getting students to respond in a

    The Stand-Up Game: A Classroom Strategy Transcript

    Speaker 1: One of my favorite strategies for getting students to respond in a different way is to play the stand-up game.

    All right, we’re going to play the stand-up game. Will everybody stand up. This is the stand-up game.

    I’ve taught for 17 years and for most of those 17 years, I’ve taught first or second hour. I’ve got a lot of 17 and 18-year-olds who come tired in the morning and one of the first things I learned long ago is that there’s no good in saying, “Wake up.”

    Everybody stand up.

    Let’s just stand up.

    All right. You get to sit down if you choose to share your response. You get to sit down if you choose to share your response. Who’s up for it? Okay, here we go.

    We just stand up and you get to sit down when you contribute.

    Speaker 2: The Congo River symbolizes dehumanization because the people on the river are acting inhumane by treating other people by being cruel to them.

    Speaker 1: Absolutely, got it, nice. Anybody else?

    What I love about this is that there isn’t necessarily pressure to participate.

    Speaker 3: This treatment within the Congo and its people, along with showing the dehumanization of the Congolese.

    Speaker 1: Wow, that’s fantastic.

    Instead of just waiting for people to raise their hand, everybody is already standing. It’s a way to flip that mode of participation.

    One last person.

    Speaker 4: The evil in the story helps to move the story along suggesting that evil in our environs and surroundings is necessary to help develop us into who we are.

    Speaker 1: Nice.

    It’s a great tip for new teachers.


Sarah Brown Wessling
English Language Arts / 10 11 12 / Teacher


Teaching Practice

Project-based Learning, PBL, Projects, Engagement

Teaching Practice

All Grades/ All Subjects/ Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement