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Teaching Strategy: The Carousel

“I wish all students would participate in the discussion.”

If that sounds familiar, you might want to try this strategy.

The ability to engage students with hands-on learning activities has long been a strong advantage for career and technical educators. However, the excitement that students experience in the lab often does not follow into classroom learning. When an instructor announces, “Let’s head back to the classroom.,” the response is an audible groan from students. Their bodies slump. The students find lab activities more engaging than classroom instruction.

To fix this problem, leverage lab attributes that create engagement to design classroom lesson plans. Consider how:

  • Labs allow every student to be actively engaged (equity)
  • Labs allow for students to openly discuss ideas as needed
  • Labs allow for freedom of movement
  • The teacher serves the role of facilitator
  • There is a de-emphasis on grades (learning for the sake of learning)

Equity, Engagement and Productive Talk

Emphasize the power of speaking and listening between students — what is known as productive talk. Productive talk is speaking that leads to learning. It happens during conversations in which students do most of the talking, while teachers guide them to listen to each other, explain their thinking, question and challenge each other’s ideas, and revise their own opinions based on input from others.

Productive Talk Improves Literacy

When people participate actively in conversation, their brains sync, mirroring and anticipating the neural activity of the others in the conversation (Stephens, Silbert and Hasson, 2010). Engaging in conversation as we learn, rather than simply listening to new information, helps make this neural activity more likely. As we learn, our brains forge and strengthen new pathways through which information can travel.

The Strategy in Action

How long will it take?

20-30 minutes, depending upon how long you want to debrief students.

When should I use the Carousel teaching strategy?

As a pre-assessment or a review game of a broad, multifaceted topic. When you need to get everyone involved, instead of hearing from the same few students each time.

What’s the gist?

An extended, active version of Think-Pair-Share, the Carousel gets everyone moving around the room to write and discuss various topics.

How It Works

  1. Post 4–5 large sheets of paper around the room, with plenty of space between them. On each paper, write a different question or statement that can elicit a broad range of responses.
  2. Divide your students into 4–5 teams, and give each team a different colored marker. Each group begins at one of the posted questions.
  3. Set a timer for two minutes (or another amount of time). Instruct students as follows: “When I say go, you will have two minutes as a group to write as many intelligent points as you can on your board. When I call time, every group will take their marker and rotate to the left, just like a carousel.”
  4. When groups rotate, instruct students to read through what the other group(s) wrote. If a student or group disagrees with something written previously, they are encouraged to draw a line through the statement and respond. After that, students begin to post their own additional thoughts.
  5. Continue rotating until all groups have responded to every question. Then facilitate a class discussion. All it takes to get great conversation going is a couple of lines drawn through comments of another color.

Students encouraged to respond and defend their own words are more invested than if they were just listening to the arguments of others. By responding first in a group with short, written statements, students feel safe to critique and defend their own ideas and are more likely to discuss their ideas aloud afterward.

Example Prompts from an Automotive Classroom

  1. List everything you can think of that relates to Geometry (This is to connect to prior knowledge and emphasize the role of geometry involved with upcoming content on suspension and brake systems.)
  2. List everything you can connect to the concept: alignment.
  3. List every detail you know about wheel bearings. (This serves as an excellent pre-assessment tool, to gauge student knowledge on this topic.)
  4. How many ways can we connect tires to brakes? (This serves to launch the new learning and gives the instructor time to use what students already have told him to lead the discussion.)

Final Thoughts

Productive talk will flourish when your classroom culture promotes learning for its own sake. Decades of research, from 1933 onward, have made it clear that grades are often problematic (Kohn, 2011). Reliance on grades reduces students’ interest in the material, the quality of their thinking, and their intrinsic drive to take intellectual risks (Kohn, 2011). Risk-averse learners “downshift” their brains into a kind of survival mode, looking for the right answer instead of seeking understanding.

People do better creative work and engage more readily in learning when they know that what they’re doing is relevant beyond a quantitative assessment. When we use external rewards to motivate others, we may unintentionally undermine their intrinsic motivation (Pink, 2011) and risk extinguishing their love of learning. Especially in career pathways work, it is important for students to internalize and embrace the intrinsic value of the learning that could become their lives’ work. A class discussion will be more dynamic and productive when students, freed from a preoccupation with their own achievement, can take interest in the topic itself.

Sandra Adams is a teacher and instructional coach with the Career Academy, Fort Wayne Community Schools. She co-wrote the ACTE-supported book But I’m NOT a Reading Teacher!: Literacy Strategies for Career and Technical Educators with Gwendolyn Leininger. Contact her to learn how you can implement the Carousel and other innovative teaching strategies in your CTE classroom.

For more from Adams, find her at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION next week where she will be on site to sign her book, But I’m NOT a Reading Teacher! Adams will also deliver two educational program sessions: “The Technology Integrated CTE Classroom: Embedding 7 Future Survival Skills” on Friday, Nov. 30 and “Creating Equitable Access to IT Courses” on Saturday, Dec. 1 during the STEM is CTE Symposium.

REFERENCES
Kohn, A. (2011). The case against grades. Retrieved from http://alfiekohn.org/article/case-grades/.
Pink, D.H. (2011). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.
Stephens, G.J., Silber, L.J. & Hasson, U. (2010). Speaker-listener neural coupling underlies successful communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pcm/articles/PMC2922522/.

ACTE Student Trophy Design Contest Winners Set Standard for Excellence

ACTE is committed to providing career and technical education (CTE) students with opportunities to develop the skills they’ll need for success in a global economy. One such opportunity, the Student Trophy Design Contest, encourages secondary, postsecondary and adult CTE students in 3D design or CAD courses to develop and submit a trophy design that reflects the prestige of ACTE’s Excellence Awards program. Designs are then judged by ACTE staff and Stratasys Ltd. — a manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems — on visual appeal, function and structural integrity.

“Stratasys is pleased to partner with ACTE to create this contest for the students. It is clear that the educators are doing an outstanding job immersing the students in additive manufacturing and computer-aided drafting,” said Jesse Roitenberg, national education manager for Stratasys. “The trophy entries we have judged over the past three years are phenomenally designed and could not be created by any other manufacturing process.”

We are proud to announce that the winners of the 2018 ACTE Student Trophy Design Contest are Rashi Kejriwal and Shreya Santhanagopalan, of Ellicott City, Maryland, supported by their teacher, David Lucania.

The winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship prize, a one-year lease of a 3D printer (courtesy of Stratasys) and materials, and a trip to ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018 in San Antonio, Texas, where they will be recognized at the Awards Banquet. And here, an exclusive interview.

The Mount Hebron High School juniors, Kejriwal and Santhanagopalan, sat down with Techniques to discuss their interests in STEM now and in the future, and how they were inspired to enter — and ultimately win — the 2018 ACTE Student Trophy Design Contest.

Talk a little about yourself and your background, your school, your experience with CTE, and your plans for the future.

Rashi Kejriwal: I’m a junior in Howard County, Maryland, at Mount Hebron High School and I’m enrolled in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering classes at our school. Personally, apart from PLTW, I have always had a background in STEM. For example, I completed an assignment in elementary school in which students were tasked to design and build a city… Through these and other activities I have developed a strong interest toward multiple fields in engineering. In the future I want to pursue a career in which I can learn and contribute to society.

Shreya Santhanagopalan: I am also a junior at Howard County, Maryland’s Mount Hebron High School. From a young age, I was brought up to love engineering tasks and figuring out solutions to difficult problems. I began to learn to code when I was in fifth grade; in middle school I learned to create multiple apps with guidance. I am still exploring options for my future but I take great interest in computer science and engineering, and I plan to attend college until I receive a Master’s degree in my chosen field.

How and why did you decide to enter the ACTE Student Trophy Design Contest? What inspired your winning design?

Shreya Santhanagopalan: Rashi and I were intrigued when our teacher, Mr. Lucania, brought up the ACTE Student Trophy Design Contest in our shared Project Lead the Way class. After weeks of planning, in and outside of school, we had developed seven different design sketches…

Rashi Kejriwal: We combined the top portion of one remaining design with the bottom portion of the other to create our final design.

What guidance did your career and technical education teacher provide?

Rashi Kejriwal: When it came time to build the trophy, Mr. Lucania’s mentoring, along with the use of AutoDesk Inventor and its unique features, helped us turn our dreams into reality.

The trophy designed by Kejriwal and Santhanagopalan will be presented to ACTE’s national award winners at the Awards Banquet on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Check out the full list of finalists and make your plans to celebrate CTE on the first night of ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018, Nov. 28–Dec. 1, in San Antonio, Texas.

ACTE members can read the full interview, “ACTE Student Trophy Design Contest Winners Set Standard for Excellence,” in the October issue of Techniques today. Not a member? Join! ACTE is the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers.

ACTE's CareerTech VISION 2018 will be a celebration in San Antonio

A Celebration in San Antonio: ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018

San Antonio, Texas, is a city with something to celebrate. It also happens to be the host city for ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018, held Nov. 28–Dec. 1 at the Henry B. González Convention Center. VISION is the preeminent annual event for career and technical educators, where educators, industry representatives and business leaders connect, learn and grow — all, together, in an effort to promote career and technical education (CTE) fields as a viable and valuable career pathway.

The city of San Antonio honors its 300th birthday in the year 2018 and in what better fashion than by celebrating the diverse, multifaceted nature of CTE. ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018 will provide for attendees four packed days of high-quality professional development, prime networking opportunities and direct access to thousands of individuals invested in CTE. Make your travel plans and register today (The advance registration discount is on now, through Oct. 26!) to attend VISION because you won’t want to miss the:

  • Renowned keynote speakers, exploring new directions in CTE
  • 300+ concurrent sessions, covering the complete spectrum of secondary and postsecondary CTE
  • CareerTech Expo and interactive exhibitor workshops
  • Career Pavilion, providing essential resources on several CTE career pathways
  • Wednesday workshops and tours, offering insights into focused topics and CTE programming
  • Awards Banquet, a heartwarming gathering of dedicated CTE professionals and supporters
  • Opportunities to connect, collaborate and build lasting friendships with CTE professionals from around the globe
  • STEM is CTE Symposium, addressing diversity, equity and access issues to STEM fields via CTE programs

Education

Where the teacher becomes a student, and the student becomes a better teacher. With more than 300 concurrent sessions that span the spectrum of career and technical education, the educational program at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION offers something for everyone.

Wednesday, Nov. 28 kicks off the premier event for CTE professionals with hands-on workshops and tours that highlight model programs and industry partners in and around San Antonio, Texas. On Thursday morning grab a bite to eat at the First-time Attendee Orientation and Breakfast, generously sponsored by the U.S. Army, before gathering in the main hall for what promises to be an inspirational opening general session from Jenna Hager.

Jenna Hager, a former teacher in Baltimore, is effusive in her passion for literacy and education. As founding chair of UNICEF’s Next Generation, Hager has committed her life’s work to transforming lives through compassion, community support and educational opportunities.

VISION Program Highlights

With more than 300 sessions, the comprehensive VISION program covers key trends and innovations in nearly every aspect of CTE.

  • High-quality CTE Framework
  • Sequencing and Articulation
  • Student Assessment
  • Prepared and Effective Program Staff
  • Engaging Instruction
  • Access and Equity
  • Facilities and Equipment
  • Business & Community Partnerships
  • Career and Technical Student Organizations
  • Work-based Learning
  • Data and Program Improvement
  • Funding and Perkins
  • Integration of Academics and CTE
  • Administrator Trends and Issues
  • Agricultural Education
  • Business Education
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • Guidance and Career Development
  • Marketing Education
  • Health Science Education
  • Engineering and Technology Education
  • Trade and Industrial Education
  • Postsecondary, Adult and Career Education

The full article, “A Celebration in San Antonio: ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018,” will appear in the September issue of TECHNIQUES. Watch your mailboxes for this and other great content from career and technical educators, for career and technical educators.