Participation Management: Named Popsicle Sticks

I saw this technique being used in both Ms. A’s class and Mr. H last week. Both teachers had students write their first name and last initial on a popsicle stick. Both had them color-coded by class (4th hour = red, 2nd = blue) and placed them in labeled cups. In Algebra, Ms. A picked sticks when reviewing homework to randomly call on students. Once your stick had been chosen, she left it out so that all students had a chance of being called on during that hour.

Participation Idea: Poker Chips

{I’m still working this one out, please accept the work-in-progress nature of these ideas. }

I’m playing with the idea of rewarding participation, but in a random way, that would encourage quality participation but also encourage those shyer or less confident kids. I would give out a few poker chips each hour to students based on their participation. Perhaps even give some out when students were working well in pairs, small groups, or individually. Students would be able to either turn these chips in for a (cheap) daily prize (funky erasers, tiny cars, mini-notebooks, bouncy balls) or put their name on them and enter to win a bigger prize every quarter. What would that big prize be? No idea yet. Would I pay for it myself. Sure, especially if it means getting kids to work longer, more quietly and more cooperatively.

Also, I’m not sure what actual physical object would work best. Something uniform in shape and weight, that kids could write on, that would be either cheap to replace or reusable.