It seems like the same kids always raise their hands, carrying the pace of the lesson from one question to the next. We call on them over and over, hoping the quiet kids and daydreamers might be listening to the answers, but are they? What if ALL students are required to participate? I've been struggling with this for years and while searching through a box of poker chips (which I usually use for assigning groups) I came up with the idea for a participation GAME where EVERY kid is involved!
Now, the name comes from my slight obsession with British accents so you may choose to change it to something that works for you. However, my students LOVED saying "Spot On" with an accent....typical 12 year olds they are!
Here is how it worked:
I grouped students in pairs and gave each group of students a set of three different colored chips. Students placed the chips on their desk, an equal distance between both players. (As the game became more competitive, my 6th graders added some other rules such as you must keep your hands behind your back while the question is being read.)
Next I shared a multiple-choice question on the whiteboard (PowerPoint would work as well). I didn't reveal the answers with the question, as I really wanted kids to READ the question and THINK about their own answers before seeing the choices. Some kids rush and end up making spontaneous guesses, so revealing each part of the question separately seems to slow down their process a bit.
First I showed the question:
Next I showed the question and the answers but not the colored spots:
Last I revealed the colored spots and kids raced against their partner to grab the correct chip on their desk! Students who believed they had the correct spot held it up for me to see. I couldn't believe how even my daydreamers were diving for the correct chip on their desk....MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
And yes....I said "SPOT ON" with a ridiculously bad version of a British accent, but my kids totally loved it!
NOTE: You will need to move the colored spots around for each question, otherwise the kids know which color to grab before the spots are revealed. I'm sure this was obvious to you, but who knows...maybe you didn't have your morning coffee yet ;)
This game took very little effort to set up (I came up with the idea, set up 5 questions to use throughout my lesson, all over a few sips of coffee before the morning bell rang.) It allowed me to check understanding throughout my lesson, which targeted the learning goal relating to reading the Periodic Table. During each round of the game I could informally assess student understanding allowing me to appropriately pace my examples and explanations to meet the needs of the class. The best part? EVERY student was engaged!
SO... here I am blogging about it late Friday night hoping it help increase active participation outside the four walls of my classroom. If you think you might use this idea leave me a COMMENT. I'd love to hear that my crazy ideas might be useful to some other caffeine-crazed teachers!