Sometimes, teachers have a tendency to call on the same students to answer our questions, or to do certain jobs, or for lots of other reasons, and we don't even realize it. However, the students know. Some students know you'll never call on them, so they just stop listening.
Calling sticks will help teachers to make sure to give everyone an opportunity. It is such a simple strategy and very effective.
Write each student's name on a popsicle stick. Place them in a can. So easy.
For your next Q&A session, ask the question, then draw a name, don't draw the name first. If the name is drawn first, the rest of the class stops listening. After the student responds put the stick back in the can. This lets the student know that they maybe called on again, so they need to pay attention. If the teacher puts the stick aside the student will tune the teacher out, because they will think the teacher is done with them.
Calling sticks are a great way to assign classroom jobs. Just randomly pick a name out of the can. I also used them for who would read a passage from a book, who would share their math strategies, who would go first, second, third..., for dismissal or lining up, assigning partners. You will discover that you will use them throughout the day for many things.
You will also find that the onus is not on the teacher anymore. The students can no longer say, "You always call on ______."
For teachers who have more than one class, have a set of sticks for each group, or assign numbers to students and have numbers on the sticks instead of names. Another approach might be to number the desk, instead of assigning numbers to the students. High School teachers have used this approach.
I hope you will experiment with this strategy. I know you will see a difference in students' attention and participation.
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