Total Participation Techniques

Making Every Student an Active Learner

What are Total Participation Techniques?

TPTs are teaching techniques that allow for all students to demonstrate, at the same time, active participation and cognitive engagement in the topic being studied.

Appointment Agendas


  • How it works:

– Provide students with a copy of an Appointment Agenda with various time-slot options.

– Ask them to walk around the room and make “appointments” with various partners.

– Both partners should select a time that is open and write each other’s name in the time slot.

– If someone remains without a partner, have that person triple up with an existing pair.

– Once the agendas are filled in, you can use this as a pairing tool.

– Partners should appear only once on an agenda.


  • How to Ensure Higher-Order Thinking:

– Steps for ensuring higher-order thinking will depend on the activity that you choose to

do once partners meet.

Take your clock and fill it with 4 appointments, one appointment for each hour designated.

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Why choose Total Participation Techniques?

A total-participation mind-set is essential for ensuring active participation and cognitive engagement by all your learners, as well as for providing you with effective ongoing formative assessments.

Use your appointment agenda to discuss the article below.

Quick Writes


  • How it works:

– Select a prompt that you would like students to address.

– Give students a specified amount of time to collect their thoughts and jot down a response (3-5 minutes).

– Follow this up with a Pair-Share, Networking Session, or Chalkboard Splash.


  • How to Ensure Higher-Order Thinking

– Ask students to make connections between the concepts and their effect on the world around them. Use wide-open questions.*


*A Q-chart is helpful in formulating these types of questions.

Networking Sessions


  • How it works:

– Prepare 1-4 prompts or questions. Ask students to reflect on or quick-write responses to the prompts.

– Ask students to find someone with whom they have not yet spoken that day and discuss their responses to a teacher-selected prompt.

– After a predetermined amount of time, ring a bell or signal the class to find someone else to whom they haven’t spoken that day.

– With their new partner, ask students to respond to a different teacher-selected prompt. Repeat the process until all prompts have been discussed.




  • How to Ensure Higher-Order Thinking

– Use prompts and questions that require higher-order thinking. Go beyond factual questions and instead delve into the implications of the concepts for the world around us. Provide students the opportunity to personalize the responses by applying them in their own worlds.

In what ways have you used TPTs to engage students?

Use this sentence stem:


  • One way I have used TPTs to engage students is...
  • In addition, ...
  • Also, ...


You have one minute to write down your experiences.


We are going to couple this Quick Write with a Networking Session.


  • Find someone you haven’t spoken to this morning.
  • Share with each other the different types of TPTs you have used (or would like to use) in your classroom next week.


You have two minutes to network and share your TPTs.

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Reflection Using SMORE

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