The Activator: Teach Okay

The longer you talk, the more kids you lose. As a powerful corrective to lecturing, speak briefly, no more than one minute at a time. Then, give kids the opportunity to rehearse your lesson with each other. (In kindergarten, WBT teachers work up to Teach-Okay, with “tell your neighbor.”)

Teach-Okay is WBT’s answer to traditional education’s weary think-pair- share. You may be concerned that we don’t give students time to contemplate the teacher’s point.

 

We believe that when we ask kids to “think,” we have no way to tell what they’re thinking about. Is it what we just said or how to get to the head of the lunch line? Talking through a response is a good way to think through a response. Call it “ideational fluency.” Students hear a teacher’s point and immediately start paraphrasing it to a neighbor.

Script: Teach-Okay (third grade)

Teacher: Class! Class!

Students: Yes! Yes!

Teacher: Mirror words!

Students: Mirror words!

Teacher: (Holding one fist above the other) A fraction has two numbers.

Students: (Mirroring the teacher’s gestures) A fraction has two numbers.

Teacher: (waggling the top fist) The top number is the numerator.

 

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Students: (Mirroring the teacher’s gesture) The top number is the numerator.

Teacher: (waggling the bottom fist) The bottom number is the denominator.

Students: (Mirroring the teacher’s gestures) The bottom number is the denominator.

Teacher: Now, make a full turn to your neighbors, use giant gestures and explain the numerator and denominator. (claps twice) Teach!

Students: (Clapping twice) Okay! (Students teach their neighbors about the numerator and denominator.)

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Teacher: (Holding one fist above the other) In the fraction 3/5, the 3 is the numerator.

Students: (Mirroring the teacher’s gestures) In the fraction 3/5, the 3 is the numerator. 

Teacher: Now, make a full turn to your neighbors, use giant gestures and finish this sentence with your partner. "The 3 in 3/5 is the numerator because _______." (claps twice) Teach!

Students: (Clapping twice) Okay! (Students take turns finishing that sentence with their partner. )