Friday, November 16, 2012

3b: Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques and increasing Student Participation with popsicle sticks

     Previously I posted about how I use "Fast Fives" to help my students review previous Regents Exams.  I needed a way to keep all of my students engaged and participating so did a little "research" on Pinterest (this is my way to justify all of the time I spend on that website). If you don't know what Pinterest is...I give you permission to go check it long as you come back to my blog. Keep in mind that Pinterest will suck you into a time-warp and 3 hours later you will come out with millions of ideas and even less time to accomplish them.
     So here's what I did and my students LOVE it. I bought a big box of colored popsicle sticks
like these:

     I was looking for 4 different for each of my classes. As the kids came into class I had them each pick up a "Fast Five" and a popsicle stick. My first class of the day got red popsicle sticks, 2nd class: yellow, third: green, and my last class got blue.
     I had each student write their first and last name on one side of the stick. I then had them flip it over and write a funny (school-appropriate) nickname that I should use on the other side. I always get a student who asks: "Is _____ school-appropriate?" and I reply: "if you have to ask, then the answer is NO"

"Big Guy" and "Nugget"
     I then placed all of the popsicle sticks in a clear paint can that I bought at a local craft store like this:

 Here it is with all of the popsicle sticks from all of the classes.  I would recommend buying a bigger one than you think you'll need because...

     I put an empty soup can inside. (shhh.....)

Because, everytime I select a student's name, and they answer a question....I put their stick in the soup can in the middle so other students get a chance.  Sneaky, right?

     Like I said my students love this. I don't think they would love it as much without the funny names but it now prevents that one student from monopolizing the lesson and answering all of the questions. Every student is now answering the questions on their sheet because their name might be selected.

     It's a fun way to take care of a necessary task like review.

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