Old Tech for New Times

It seems the same students answer my questions and I wonder if they are answering so fast that maybe the other students just need a little more time to think. Any suggestions on how to not deter these types of students from answering while allowing other students to get involved too?
– O., Ohio

In my experience, one of the best methods to get the whole class to participate is to use individual whiteboards. (I remember scoffing at pictures of one room school houses with kids holding up slates!) I had a “recharging cart” (a bag) of these “acoustic tablets” on a counter in my room. Accessories included “wireless stylus” (markers) and “history cleaning app” (erasers). One student once stated, “I love these boards because I’m not the only one answering!”

There are vendors who sell durable products but you can head to the dollar store or make your own from white panels from lumber stores (see if the woodworking teacher can help).  Check to make sure that the markers and erasers will work on any product you make. 

Ask a question and have all the students hold their boards up. You quickly point, nod, say “yes”, “no” “close” or give them hints until all the students get the right answer. Both the students and you get immediate feedback.

Fore more elaborate questions, you can provide students with multiple choices and they hold up the letter of their answer. Gauge how they’re receiving new material by having students draw a happy face, neutral face or sad face to indicate their understanding.

At the end of the period make sure the students clear their histories and return the “tablets” along with the accessories.

Hope this helps!

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