Mix in these methods to manage your class discussions

Talking Piece: Person holding the piece may speak. All others listen silently.

Pulling Sticks: Teacher pulls a popsicle stick from set. Person whose name is on stick speaks. All others listen.

Popcorn: Speaker "pops," or stands, to get the floor. If two or more students "pop up," they nonverbally determine who will speak first.

Whip It: Best done in a circle, the right to speak "whips" around the room. Students share a brief response, one at a time.

Cold Call (sometimes with Phone a Friend): Teacher calls on students at random, from a list. All others listen.

Kitchen Table Talk: Teacher asks question(s) and students respond in a free-flowing, spontaneous manner. Speakers avoid talking over each other and learn to join the conversation gracefully and respectfully. Great real world practice!

Relay: Speaker speaks, then calls on the next person. All others listen.

Walk and Talk: Partners receive a prompt, route, and time frame before being released. Upon return, further whole-group discussion/ reflection may occur.

Elbow Buddies: Individual students form a pair by touching elbows. A partner discussion ensues.

Clock Partners: Students use a clock-hour graphic organizer to make partners. Later, teacher directs students to "Find your 2:00 partner," and a partner discussion ensues. 

To read more about these techniques, see Managing Conversations.