Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spark Student Motivation with Talking Tokens!

Happy Weekend!!! I feel the urge to wake up early on weekends just so my days at home, with no students, seem longer.  I may need a nap later. I'm linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels For Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays!

I went to a PD meeting this week on Active Participation.  We learned about overt and covert student engagement strategies and how to constantly questions the students so that EVERYONE is participating MOST of the time! So many strategies were modeled and I immediately went back to class on Friday and used them! The best PD's are when you can implement what you learned the next day! LOVE IT :)

My favorite suggestion was using these red and white counters as "Talking Tokens." Each learning group gets a little cup of tokens to use when they are collaborating.  Before they discuss, students must take a designated amount of Talking Tokens.  Two tokens seems to be a reasonable amount to start with! Then the students turn the tokens to the white side while they are thinking about what they want to discuss. During thinking time,  the students can use sentence starters to help spark ideas. When the students are done thinking, they turn their talking tokens over to the red side so their group knows they are ready to share ideas. When a student shares an idea, they put the tokens back in the cup.  This is a great way to keep students actively engaged and to hold each student accountable when discussing in groups.

Photo Credit - Lakeshore Learning. Click for source.
It always cracks me up how little things, like different color foam circles, can motivate students to participate.  They add a new twist to what would be an ordinary conversation!  I will be picking up some of these tokens this weekend to use Monday! I can't wait to try this out.  Let's hope they spark some deep, meaningful conversations between the students :)

Have a fantastic weekend!


  1. Great idea to get everyone talking time. It is so nice to have some students who are constant participators, but they tend to take time away from the more quiet students who have just as much to say!! Great idea, and thanks for sharing. :) Can't wait to hear how it turns out. Be sure to blog about it!!!
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  2. I would also love to hear how it works out! I think my middle schoolers would "cheat" and put the tokens back in before actually sharing but maybe I can put a twist on it. Perhaps if I give the tokens as I hear true sharing, I can quickly remedy a quiet situation...

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  3. Great idea!! It's also crazy to a tiny little foam circle can motivate students..ha! Oh---and I am your newest follower....I found your blog from Head Over Heel's blog linky!! Can't wait to read your future posts!

    Mind Sparks

  4. I've used talking chips before so I can make sure all group members participate, but I love the two sided token to use for thinking time-awesome idea! I already have the yellow and red chips, so I can implement this right away! Thanks so much for sharing Katie! Give us more from your PD next Saturday! :)
    Head Over Heels For Teaching