Have you ever posed a question in class to a student, and the student's reaction was what appeared to be a blank stare and silence? In response, two or three other students raised their hands because they immediately had to share their answer to fill the void of silence created by first student. The silent student may not know the answer, but he or she may also be thinking. The student may come to the answer if actually given the time to think. This is called think time. This is when learning takes place!
Think time, also known as wait time, can be uncomfortable for some. To create a comfortable learning experience where think time can exist for all, we need to put it on the table. In past school years, I often told students, "Give ________ a chance to think." Or, "Please put your hands down while ________ is thinking." Rather than giving reactionary statements like these this year, I am going to introduce think time on the first day of school.
Allowing think time will be added to our classroom agreements that will be posted once my students and I come up with our list. Classroom agreements are the five to ten agreed upon statements that will set the tone of our learning year. They're used in lieu of traditional rules. Perhaps my addition to the classroom agreements will say the following: If a member of our team is contemplating an idea or question, we will give him or her time to think. Thinking is when real learning happens!
Also, it's important for all students to know that taking away another's think time, shouting out answers, or raising their hands during another's think time may actually take thinking away from the student pondering an idea or question. We want to help each other on our team learn. We never want to take each other's thinking away. Note: I call my class a team.
Think time will be a part of our classroom climate this year. It will start on day one!