Pass the Buck Game
I encourage my students to participate in oral discussions and volunteer to answer questions through the creation of the “Pass the Buck” game. I have an oversized dollar bill in the front of my room, which I’ve laminated. When I am reviewing subject matter, asking questions, or simply discussing a topic, I hand “the buck” to the first student I call upon to answer. That student may then attempt an answer or “pass the buck” to another student whose hand is raised.
This game has eliminated the discomfort students feel when called upon to give an answer they do not know. Rather than embarrassment, they feel the freedom and power of choosing the next person to attempt the answer. It has also eliminated the snickers and negative comments of other students because they know the person holding “the buck” is the person who will select the next student to answer. A third benefit is that it also encourages the shy students to volunteer an answer in order to gain possession of the giant dollar.
Rules can be adjusted as suits the class. We usually set the rule that no one may have the dollar more than twice in a discussion. This rule helps eliminate having only one or two students dominating the discussions or answers. Try it, it works4me!