We wrapped up two days of workshops on Ratio on Friday. Ratio is the principle that it’s not whether the teacher gets a mental workout, but whether students do. Our workshops focus on building two types of Ratio, Participation Ratio (who’s engaged in the lesson and how often) and Think Ratio (how rigorous is the cognitive work they do when they’re involves). Generally you want both, but you sometimes do different things to get them, and sometimes you emphasize one over the other. One way to maximize both types of Ratio, however, is via more writing. Instead of asking a question that one or two students answer verbally, consider asking all students to answer the question in writing.
On Thursday and Friday we practiced a technique called Art of the Sentence, which asks students to synthesize a complex idea, summarize a reading or distill a discussion in a single, well-crafted sentence. After all, the definition of a sentence is, often, a “complete thought,” and