This discussion technique ensures that all students have an equal opportunity to participate and share their responses in class. The randomness of drawing a student’s name using the Popsicle Sticks method also helps with classroom management.
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How to Use
Make a Popsicle Stick for each student by writing each name on a popsicle stick. Use a cup or mug to hold the Popsicle Sticks for the entire class. If you assign each student in the class a number, you could put a number on each popsicle stick instead of a name.
After posing a question to the class, draw a stick out of the cup. The person whose name or number you’ve drawn will answer the question. If he or she wants more help or support on the question, draw another stick. Then, the initial student must repeat what the second student said (assuming the second student gave the correct answer), so that the initial student is unable to “opt-out” of answering.
When to Use
Use Popsicle Sticks at any point in the lesson to increase engagement of all students and to show you value each person in the classroom. Use the sticks to:
Ask interest questions before introducing new material to tap into prior knowledge
Randomly call on students to gauge understanding during or after a lesson
Assign groups or tasks
Decide who will receive a special privilege
Make Your Own Popsicle Stick
Have students create and decorate their own popsicle stick.
Create an “I’m Done Cup” for students to choose from when they finish early. Sticks in this jar would be labeled with a variety of tasks students can do, for example: write a letter to a teacher, read a book, write a picture book, practice spelling, work with math flash cards, study vocabulary, etc.