Calling on ALL Students

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Ms.History, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Ms.History

    Ms.History Rookie

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    Sep 30, 2013

    One of the concerns on my recent evaluation dealt with having the same students always answering questions, while others never chime in.

    I teach 7th grade middle school, so the popsicle sticks would be a HUGE pain in the rear. (7 different cups full of 150 sticks that I have to make AND keep in the right place...). If this IS the best option, I'm totally willing to do it, but does anybody have any better suggestions? Or ways to keep the popsicle system organized?

    I found a random name picker online, but it looks like I would have to type in the class each time, and I hate how long it takes to pick a name.

    My other question is, what about when the chosen student really just doesn't know the answer?

    Thanks for any advice! :)
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 30, 2013

    Take your seating plan and cover it with a plastic page protector. Use an erasable Sharpie and put a tally through their names each time they answer each day.

    You should be able to see fairly quickly who you need to call on.

    As a math teacher, I tend not to call on kids whose hands aren't up. Sometimes a particular kid, even a bright kid, will find a particular topic difficult. And some kids are simply shy and hate speaking up in class. I find no reason to emabarass anyone.

    As long as everyone is participating, taking notes and doing the problems, I'm happy.

    And of course, when one of those shy kids DOES raise his/her hand, I make sure to call on them.
     
  4. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    I use a random number selector, and number each desk with a sharpie (the janitor didn't mind, but you could use a non-permanent solution). Then, I use a random number selector app on my iPad to call on the numbers (1-30) at random. That way, I don't have to enter names, and eventually kids just remember their number. It seems to work nicely.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I use popsicle sticks because the random name selector tools aren't as convenient as I would like them to be. I have more students than you do, and it's really not hard to keep everything straight. I have two little bowl/cup things, one that keeps all the popsicle sticks and one that holds just the ones I'm currently using. I keep each class's sticks in a rubber band until I'm ready for them.

    Also, most of the time I return the popsicle sticks to the cup/bowl thing once the students have answered. They're not off the hook just because they answered a question.
     
  6. live

    live Companion

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    Sep 30, 2013

    I usually try to come up with some incentive for the kids to participate. Sometimes this is in the form of Dojo points. I'll use the random picker on Class Dojo, and then they choose if they want to respond or not (they can opt out, but then they don't get their Dojo point for participation).

    I also have a ball that I pass to the students (nearly every hand shoots up to attempt to answer when I do this, especially if I let them pass it to the next person as well). Or whoever is answering, gets to hold our class mascot: the dino. I mostly use that so I can reiterate, "the only person who is speaking is the one holding the dino."

    I also have students use hand signals during certain lessons, so essentially, every student is responding. (ETA: I do a lot of chorale response in addition to all of this). Or we use our "white boards" (laminated pieces of white paper...).

    And, of course, I use the good ole' fashion calling-on-students-with-their-hands-up. I do have popsicle sticks with student numbers, but I tend to forget about those (especially when Dojo is so convenient on my iPad). I'm actively trying to teach my students to encourage and support one another, so that way students will feel comfortable contributing even if they're not sure. It's getting better, but it's a constant discussion in my class. Along with "it's okay to not have the right answer; that's what a discussion is for."

    I'm in 5th grade now, but these are things that worked well for me when I taught middle school too.
     
  7. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    Sep 30, 2013

    These are all great ideas.

    I do want to add, if popsicle sticks are too much to create I have passed out an index card to each student and had them write their name and period on there. I paperclip them together and keep them up front so I can use them to call on students.
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I use Popsicle sticks but just have one set and a laminated set of my classes. I have numbers on tge sticks and pull one out then call on whoever number ten is in that class, etc.
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    The Hat is a free computer program I use that picks students. I got it online and it is a quick and easy download. Once you type them in, you never have to type them in for the rest of the year. I have used it for years and it works great.
     
  10. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Questioning is a HUGE deal at my HS. Even at Freshman orientation, students are told that. We actually get knocked on evaluations if we call on people with their hands up too often. And we're supposed to ask each student 2-3 questions within a class period (85 min). If a student doesn't know, then you break the question down until you reach something he does know and build back up. Or sometimes, I'll ask another student and then ask the original student to repeat the answer or elaborate. Refusing to answer isn't an option, though.

    As for how I keep track of who I've questioned, I make up little patterns in my head. One day, I ask every 3rd student until I've hit everyone and then start over. I try to switch it up though so that students don't know who I'll hit next.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I like Alice's technique best and here is why. :)

    I've used the computer programs and apps...eh, not impressed. The popsicle sticks were a slight pain. Every week I'd have to update who moved and who joined. Not a huge deal, but just a little extra thing I'd forget. But then, and here's the main problem, I want control over who I call on. I think as a thinking human, I can accomplish more by calling on students strategically. For example, if someone looks really sleepy, I just might want to call on her. If a student is having a really difficult day, I may want to step back. I just eventually stopped using the sticks for this reason. I still like tracking participation to help guide me, so I like a simple tally system on a page protector.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 1, 2013

    I had a middle school teacher I worked with that did the popsicle sticks for her classes. She didn't seem like it was too big of a problem to keep up with every class period.

    I love Alice's idea of the sheet protector though!
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    That's pretty much my reasoning. When a shy kid raises her hand for an easy question, I want the freedom to call on her. Likewise, I don't want a kid to feel like the odds are in his favor if he's already answered one question this period.

    Honestly, though, I don't use any method. I just call on kids who have their hands raised. I'm very much attuned to which kids still haven't broken far enough out of their shells to raise their hands; when the day comes that those hands go up, I'll be happy to call on them.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Instead of popsicle sticks I use playing cards. I can shuffle them easily and they are easy to store too.
     
  15. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Oct 2, 2013

    I call on kids who raise their hands. I also will ask students to "volunteer" to answer certain questions (for example, if they are answering 10 questions, I go around the room and ask 10 different students to share a specific answer). This lets the kids think about "their" answer for awhile and usually makes the quiet kids feel better about speaking up if they have a minute to process what they want to say and make sure it's "right."

    I also do a lot of pair-share, and I'll have kids report back what their PARTNER said. It makes them share, but it takes the pressure off of their own words. It also makes them listen to what their partner says.
     
  16. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    I usually give them a few minutes to work on something before going over the problem. I will then call on a kid who I saw got the correct answer to build confidence.

    I also started this year giving a 5% participation grade. I tell them they get an A- just for doing what they're supposed to, but it will go up to an A or A+ for volunteering more or asking questions. This has helped some students to become more vocal even though the difference between A- and A+ weighted at 5% is negligible.
     
  17. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I don't call on kids who don't volunteer. I refuse to embarrass a child.

    But I do ask a question, then turn on music and give them a minute to talk about the answer. After I turn off the music, I ask them to tell me what they heard someone say. They have to start their answer with "I heard someone say..." It makes them feel safe about answering even if it turns out to be wrong... and no one knows whose answer it was. I get a lot more participation since I started doing it this way.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think that it necessarily embarrasses a child to be called on without first volunteering. There are many reasons for not volunteering, not just not knowing or understanding the material.

    In my class, no one gets to hide behind anyone else. I also have a lot of high-achievers who will bogart the class if they are given the freedom to do so--constant hand-raising and blurting out answers.

    By calling on everyone randomly, no one gets picked on or left out. If a kid doesn't know, we work it out. To me, working it out is a much better solution than just ignoring the kid who doesn't understand or allowing him to hide behind his classmates who do understand.
     
  19. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    I use the random selector from Super Teacher Tools, but I did have to type in their names. i do like the idea to use numbers and whoever has that number for the period you are in, will be the one that is called on. For Every Day Counts, I use Popsicle sticks with numbers on them. I never wrote names on Popsicle sticks because I use the same sticks from year to year.
     
  20. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I just numbered all my rosters and use a random number generator on my phone. I also keep a tally on my seating chart. If I notice someone doesn't have points it is extremely easy to "randomly" choose them since I'm the only one looking at my phone.

    Not calling on kids because they might not know an answer teaches them that not knowing an answer is a valid reason to be embarrassed.
     
  21. Ms.History

    Ms.History Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2013

    I LOVE the idea of mixing the random number generator PLUS keeping a tally... I'm going to try that.

    I also downloaded and played with The Hat. THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE ALL BEEN LOOKING FOR! Super easy to copy and paste your rosters, you can turn off the sound, but it still allows for a little bit of novelty.

    Thanks so much for all the wonderful advice!
     

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