It finally hit me the other day, the students in my "regular" geometry class were so gun shy of answering questions. You know. I'd say something like, "and what kind of quadrilateral is this forced to be if it has ____ properties?".
Then someone bravely says, "rhombus." Then downcast eyes. Then, "oh I don't know, forget it." More downcast eyes with the body language of, "move on lady, nothing to see here." Even though it turns out the answer was right.
So after it happened again in my next "regular" class. I stopped the lesson and said the following:
You know if I could grade you all on your participation in your learning, it would go something like this.
* 3 points if you answer my question, and it's right. Because you're thinking and active in your learning.
* 2 points if you answer my question, and it's wrong. Because you're still in the game and willing to process your information and try.
* 1 point if you are paying attention and answering in your head but for whatever reason, you don't speak.
* 0 points if you just sit passively and think, oh, someone else will figure it out.
* -1 point if you sit there and think, hmmmm what's for lunch.
Then I mentioned the, "you can't just passively sit there and learn math" spiel. Then I went back to the lesson.
Hmmmm. Then there was lots of participation. And I would interject with, "3 points" .... "2 points" ... etc. ... hopefully it lasts.