OK folks: Another installment of Michael's Gimmick-y but Seemingly Effective Ways to Expand Class Participation.
So here's the gimmick:
Students assemble in groups and you begin with some sort of content presentation (lecture, whatever). Each time a student participates her group gets a playing card. The aim is for the groups to build the best blackjack hand without going bust. I gave the group with the best hand at the end of the class meeting a prize (Dums-Dums!).
This seemed to work out OK. A larger number of students and groups participated than normal. I saw shy students make comments to more voluble ones and then the voluble ones raised their hands to speak on the group's behalf. Of course, some groups went bust and then continued to participate anyway.
Astute ISW readers will recognize this as a descendant of one of my cold calling methods. You could of course have a different prize (I don't do participation points, but that's another incentive) or you could make it an individual, rather than a group, game.
Do try it: Let me know if you think it helps get more students involved.