The highest level of learning transpires when we teach to others. Taking this into consideration developing ways to allow students to teach to others should be a priority. This is an example of a method that can be placed in lesson plans often, even daily. As a form of "bell-work" I create analytical thought provoking questions that require students to link their prior knowledge with new concepts. Students are asked to solve a question, riddle, and/or picture mystery. Another useful strategy is to have students create skits (i.e. play charades), draw a political cartoon and/or make charts or info-graphics.
Accountability of work completion is done by randomly choosing a pod to present or teach to their peers in the front of the class. It would take a class period or two to have have every pod present (which is an option if you choose). I utilize a box containing a number for each desk or seat in the classroom; its called the "Fair Box." The student's number that is selected then presents with the assistance of their pod-partner/s. Not knowing whether or not they will be chosen keeps students on task. Sometimes (or one time in a class) there is a student or pod chosen that announces "I don't know" or "We're not done." First of all, make it clear, Giving-Up is not an option. Don't let the student(s) out of, or off-the-hook from presenting. Here's how I handle it, and after one time it doesn't happen a second. Make it crystal clear there's no getting out of going before your classmates if you're randomly chosen. Regardless of the scenario; unpreparedness, shyness, laziness; you, the educator, will assist them through it. It's time for teacher intervention. The student(s) go to the front of the class and with teacher guidance, helpful hints, you will get them to baby-step their way through it. This is that teachable moment -- hook the student(s) by making the situation a positive experience.
Positive reinforcement and praise for every student that's selected is a necessity. Getting up in front of your peers is never an easy or comfortable situation. Therefore, when it's done, make sure you, the educator and classroom leader, provide positive comments. It's also useful to deconstruct the presentation briefly after the student(s) return to their desks. Point out the positive qualities of the presentation (i.e. good eye contact, speaking voice, etc.) but also critique any area(s) that need(s) improvement. These brief presentations are building blocks for bigger and better things to come, and are especially helpful for more involved Project Based Learning (PBL) activities. Lastly, I cap-off the "bell-work" segment and positive reinforcement with allowing the student(s) that presented to pick a Jolly Rancher candy from the class Jolly Jar. A little sugar reward always seems to make it worth all the effort for students of any age.