Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Equity Sticks

Most of us who have been teaching for awhile now are familiar with name sticks, or the newer term in education: equity sticks.  Equity sticks are a set of  craft/Popsicle sticks in which individual names of students in your classroom are written.  *If you teach pre-k or kindergarten, gluing the students' pictures on the top of the sticks is a fabulous way to begin the year!  The sticks are placed in a cup.  If you teach multiple classes, simply purchase two different colors of craft sticks at your local craft store.  Assign a color per class/period.  You can even color code the sticks for boys/girls to ensure you are choosing equally...especially if you have an uneven number of boys and girls.  I personally have two sets of equity sticks made because I use them so often...I have one set near my rug area and another near the front of the room.  You can use equity sticks throughout the day as an accountability tool for your students.  There are so many uses for them!  Today I wanted to share some of my favorite uses for them.

Answering Questions: This is the most common way equity sticks are used.  The teacher pulls sticks out at random to give everyone a fair chance to answer a question or give a thought.  They are great tools for checking for understanding during a lesson.

Reflection Tools: Equity sticks can be used as a reflection tool at the end of a lesson or the end of a day.  Gather students around you and ask them to think about their day.  Have them think of something that went well and something that could use improvement.  Call on students to reflect.

What I like about using sticks vs. having kids raise their hands is that everyone gets a fair chance to answer.  No one is "off the hook" if they don't raise their hand during a traditional hand-raising q and a session.  One thing that I do that you may not have thought of is I place the stick back in the cup immediately after calling on a student.  Doing this keeps everyone engaged, because again, no one is "off the hook" during the entire lesson.  At times, kids will get two turns and other kids will get *lucky, as they probably think* and have zero turns.

If you'd rather keep track of who has/hasn't responded or had a turn, you can use this simple idea (shown below) from Recipe for Teaching.

Partnering Students:  Getting ready to play a Math game or Phonics game?  Need to partner your kids up?  Avoid kids huddling together and begging to be with a friend with the use of equity sticks!  Whip out two sticks and those two kiddos are partners!

Kindness Notes:  Kindness notes are a great way to build community within your classroom.  These can easily be implemented into any Writing program you have.  I personally like to add them into my Morning Meeting each Friday.  To set up a Kindness notes area, simply get your equity sticks out and pass out one to each child, making sure kids don't get their own stick.  Then pass out this free Kindness notes printable (picture and writing options both included-great for differentiating!).  Students take a few minutes to write or draw a kind note to a friend.  Sometimes I will put sentence frames up for the kids (particularly during first semester) to help them with their writing.  After they've had ample work time, model how to give the notes to one another and reinforce manners.  You'll love seeing the smiles on your students' faces with this little gesture that can be implemented so quickly and easily!  You can have your kids take their notes home immediately and show their families.

Mystery Walker:  If you'd like to work on your kids' hallway behavior, Mystery Walker is for you!  It's quick and easy, which is what makes it so appealing to me!  Also you have the element of surprise/unknown for your students!  Keep a cup of sticks near your door and as you leave the room as a class (or as often as you wish), choose a stick.  Keep it a secret.  Tell the students that you'll be looking for the Mystery Walker as you walk to Gym, Music, Lunch, etc...Remind the class of the hallway expectations.  When you get there, reveal the stick!  You can choose to give them a reward or even a verbal reward/class cheer is great!  We have a traveling behavior stick/clip chart as well as personal clip charts at my building, so the Mystery Walker automatically gets to move their clip up if they do a nice job in the hallway.  *If your Mystery Walker doesn't have good hallway behavior, do not reveal their stick!  Tell the class you'll try again another time because your walker had some trouble in the hall.  Grab a free Mystery Walker sign by clicking here.

Source: Pocketful of Littles

Student of the Day:  Similar to Mystery Walker is "Secret Student!"  Print and laminate this free sign from Teach Create Motivate.  Hang up the sign.  Pull an equity stick prior to kids coming in for the day.  Hang the sign up and write the person's name on the board behind the sign.  Tell the class you'll be looking for the Secret Student all day...watching for great behavior and friendship.  At the end of the day, if your student has demonstrated what you were looking for, reveal their name.  It's up to you if you want them to earn a small prize, move their clip up, etc...if the SS had trouble, do not reveal the name.  Tell the class you'll try again tomorrow with a new SS.

Positive Notes Home: I love giving a few of these out with kids who had excellent days.  However, when the class as a whole has a great day, it's hard to choose specifically who gets a note!  I can pull a few equity sticks to make my decision fair and simple.  Click here to get these Positive Notes Home.  They make a world of difference!
How do you use equity sticks in your classroom?



Suzanne said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Can't wait to try the "Mystery Walker" idea. Why didn't I think of that?

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