*ASCD bestseller


Providing 51 easy-to-use alternatives to the “stand and deliver” approach to teaching that causes so many students to tune out—or even drop out—Total Participation Techniques presents dozens of ways to engage K–12 students in active learning and allow them to demonstrate the depth of their knowledge and understanding.

The authors, Pérsida Himmele and William Himmele, explain both the why and the how of Total Participation Techniques (TPTs) as they explore the high cost of student disengagement, place TPTs in the context of higher-order thinking and formative assessments, and demonstrate how to create a “TPT-conducive classroom.”

Readers will learn how to implement field-tested techniques they can use on the spot (e.g., Quick-Draws, Quick-Writes, Chalkboard Splash); with Hold-Up cards (e.g., True/Not True, Selected Response); with movement (e.g., Bounce Cards, Line-Ups, Simulations); and to guide note-taking and concept analysis (e.g., Picture Notes, 3-Sentence Wrap-Up, Debate Team Carousel).

Each TPT is presented in four parts:

  • A descriptive overview

  • How It Works—step-by-step instructions for implementation

  • How to Ensure Higher-Order Thinking—ideas for advancing students beyond surface-level thinking

  • Pause to Apply—suggestions for how to adapt and personalize the technique for specific contexts and content areas

Filled with examples from real classrooms, Total Participation Techniques is an essential toolkit for teachers at all levels and for administrators who want a model for analyzing lessons to ensure that they are relevant, engaging, and cognitively challenging


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Great book for teachers...

This book is a great resource for beginning and experienced teachers. It provides so many different techniques that you can use in the classroom to promote total participation of the students as well as to get them to think in a higher-order fashion. They compiled four chapters worth of TPTs that are split into categories like "On-the-Spot," "Hold-ups," "Involving Movement," and "Concept Analysis." These techniques can be used for students of any age, including college students, and for any content area. The last chapter is full of TPTs that can be used at the end of the unit to review, summarize, and connect material before an exam. Also, there is a chapter devoted to helping teachers create a TPT toolkit, so that it will be easier to use these techniques at spontaneous moments in a lesson.If you are a teacher, then you should have this book in your resource library. If you are a teacher-in-training then you should read this book before you have a classroom. And if you are either, you should plan on using these techniques in your classroom on a regular basis and at least trying each one throughout the year

-Angela, Oct. 13, 2011,

Unsolicited Reviews

Best teaching book in years!

Purchased this book on the recommendation of a friend. I teach middle school students and this has transformed many of my lessons. The techniques are well described, well developed, and thoroughly differentiated for many (if not all!) learners. I recommend this as a MUST for teachers of todays active, easily distracted students that resist participating in class. What teacher does not have a class of those? Easily adaptable for all grade levels. My sister has even taken to using them with her college students. Really a great "must have" teacher resource!!

-L. Allison, May 14, 2012,


Loads of classroom strategies that you can implement now!

This book focuses on strategies to cognitively engage students in lessons, to keep a pulse of how much students are grasping the concepts, and promotes higher level thinking skills. There are lengthy choices of strategies explained simply and succinctly making it easy to find something to add to your teacher toolbox immediately. I have been in the classroom for 9 years and I found many new ideas that I can use, along with many that I already use. If you are a new teacher then this is a must read, as it will put a host of ideas at your fingertips quickly and improve your lessons immeasurably. Veteran teachers also would benefit as the probability is high that there are a variety of strategies or activities that you would be able to add in to your day as well. The activities cross over nicely for all content areas, and further may be used from elementary through high school easily. It is not a very long book overall, 125 pages, and a super quick read. This is well worth the price! I likely would not have bought the book originally- it came as a member benefit from my ASCD membership. Very glad that it was sent along through the membership, as I will be using many ideas from the book :)

-idateacher2, July 17, 2011,

Blog - Reviews

Angela Watson's Review from The CornerStone...

At last month’s ASCD conference, I had the pleasure of speaking with William and Persida Himmele, the husband and wife team who wrote the wonderful new book Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner. I can’t say enough good things about how useful and practical this book is, and I’m excited to share it with you........

-Angela Watson, National Board Certified Teacher


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Lin Winfree's Review

Reading is one of my favorite summer activities. I'm an omnivore as a reader, so I'm usually reading more than one book at a time. Rarely do I finish a book in one sitting, especially a professional development book; however, Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner  (Himmele and Himmele, 2011) is one I devoured in an afternoon. Here's what made this text a great book for me:

  • The book offers a well-researched yet easy to follow rationale for using the Total Participation Techniques (TPT). 

  • A usable model for implementing the techniques. This included a quadrant visual of Participation plus Engagement as well as example, broken into times, of how a classroom teacher used the TPTs.

  • Not only a description of each technique, but also an explanation of how to link the technique to higher order thinking skills


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Tim Lacourt's Review from Stetson & Associates, Inc...

Total Participation Techniques presents strategies that are meant for every learner in the classroom, whether a kindergarten class or seminar space on a university campus; gifted and struggling students alike. The book is brilliant in its simplicity of presentation, and offers teachers a treasure trove of practical strategies...


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