Popsicle Sticks

Popsicle Sticks

So this week we learned about different strategies to use in the classroom. The one that stuck with me the most is the Popsicle Stick. If you have never heard of this before it’s a way for teachers to ask questions to classroom without picking the same student again and again. Prior to class the teacher would write each student’s name on their own Popsicle stick, when they go to ask the question they would randomly draw a stick and that student would answer.

Personally, I do not overly like this strategy because I think it puts a lot of pressure onto the students. However I do see the benefits from it, by having the random draws students are forced to stay on topic and be focused because you’ll never know when you get called. It’s also a way for teachers to assess their students about the understanding of the topic. You can also use it to create groups, which I never thought of until I read it here. The randomness of the drawing is unique because you never have to worry about only picking the people who raise their hands or the same groups over and over again.

But here’s what I don’t like about it, as I said before it puts a lot of pressure on students. I know when we tried it out in one of our classes I got a range of feelings. I was nervously sweating, butterflies in my stomach and my brain was already racking for answer to questions I didn’t even have.  As a third year university student, in a class where I feel comfortable speaking that is how I felt. I can’t imagine how someone in high school would feel. I get the whole “well if you create a safe environment/classroom, than a student won’t have any problems answering a question even if they are wrong” and I totally agree that this is something that teachers should strive for. A classroom where everyone feels comfortable speaking even if they are wrong, but sometimes the whole being “put on the spot answer right now” thing makes even the most comfortable student fearful.

If I were to use the Popsicle stick method in my class I think I would have students first turn to a fellow classmate and discuss an answer before randomly picking someone. That way all the students would be able to have an answer even if it wasn’t entirely their own. I’m not entirely sold on the Popsicle stick method but I do see the benefits from it. I think before I can decide I would like to try this out in my own classroom. There are so many different kinds of learners this instructional strategy might work wonderfully one year but might not the next, I think it really depends on what kind of learners you have. I won’t cross this off entirely and will give it a try sometime in the future 😛

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2 thoughts on “Popsicle Sticks

  1. I agree I do not like the popsicle stick idea too much. Don`t you think the cup idea would be awesome for Math class? Its a lot less embarrassing to put a red cup on the desk than drawing attention to yourself with a hand up. Personally I don`t think I would use a strategy unless I was sold on it because you are the one that has to take the effort to make it work and teach the kids to use it. Which WILL for sure be stressful at first. But at the same time if it doesn`t work, I bet next week there will be a new trendy idea to use or at least new pinterest boards.

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  2. I really do like the cup idea as well and think it would go over really well and like you said would probably be less embarrassing to casually slide a red cup to the front of the desk then be called out in front of the whole class. However I would never want my own feelings stop me from trying something, To me the popsicle sticks are a huge fear however it might be beneficial for a certain class or a specific time. Like in a discussion where you want everyone to give input you wouldn’t want it to be run by only a handful of students. But i agree with you if this didn’t work, there would be something on pinterest that I could try next.

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