I spend very little time standing in front of my classroom. Less than 5% probably. I let the students do the work. The work I do is ahead of time, setting up our notes, blogs and links.
Two days a week, I have 4 tutors that come in. Students bring in questions based on things they don't understand from their core classes. Sometimes, the questions are just decent. Sometimes they are outstanding.
One question that I had today was, "Imagine what the world be like if there wasn't math." They must be having a hard time in math right now, there were several questions that implied they didn't want math around.
In groups of 6 or 7 and a tutor, one student presents a question, goes to the group's whiteboard and starts Cornell Notes. The presenter then tells everything they know about the question. The group asks questions and gives ideas.
I was very worried that this question would bomb. It had potential to be a teacher bashing session. However, the resulting discussion lasted for almost 30 minutes. They covered map making, gas mileage, making change at a restaurant, banking, and teacher grade books.
The discussion that they had was rich, student-centered, detailed, civil and, at times, amusing. At the end of the hour, I gave the whole class a round of applause. They deserved it. They had 55 minutes of discussion where everyone was on task. It was AWESOME. Especially from 7th graders!
D is for Discussion.