So I made a shift in my class. The circle wasn't working out so well. Students were not discussing and lots of side conversations kept springing up. So I moved towards a presentation style format where one group gets up and presents to the rest of the class. Worked much better. The students were engaged. The students were debating. The students told me later how much fun class was. I love my job.
I think the shift is when only one group is up there is no confusion about who should be talking. When I had two groups go up today the silence happened again. No one took control. Once I had the other groups sit down conversation started again. Very curious to me!
I had a breakthrough with one of my students this week. On Tuesday we were in discussion and she asked me a question about force pairs. I told her I wasn't sure what the answer was. She replied in exasperation, "Yes you DO know the answer! You just want me to have to think!" Yes, Tiffany, yes I do.
Today she struck again. I gave out a quiz today. She glanced at it and said, "This is what we did yesterday."
"Yes," I replied."
"And this question is what we did earlier in the week!"
"And I know this one too!"
"Tiffany, are you complaining that you understand everything on the quiz?"
"*chuckles* I guess I am! It's just not a very usual occurrence for me!"