Today’s teaching tip is an active engagement activity called “Get Off the Fence!”
Ms. Buchanan is always doing a great job of keeping her students actively engaged, and I wanted to share one of her activities that other teachers could adapt. She gave the students an anticipation guide with statements relating to their reading, and students had to decide whether they agreed or disagreed with each statement. As they went over each statement as a class, Ms. Buchanan had the students physically move from one side of the room to the other to show whether they agreed or disagreed. This was an excellent activity to help students connect and respond to literature.
Here are the step-by-step directions for Get Off the Fence:
1. Offer your class a controversial statement about a text or topic by reading the statement aloud or writing it on the board.
2. Ask those who agree with the statement to move to one side of the room and those who disagree to move to the opposite side of the room.
3. Any student who is undecided may remain in the middle of the room, but those in the middle cannot speak. At any time a student may move from the middle to one side, from one side to the middle, or to the other side.
4. Ask for comments from students about the statement, alternating from side to side
5. The unexpected ending: Ask the students in the middle of the room to “get off the fence” by choosing one side or another, then explaining why they chose that side.
6. Repeat the process with another statement.