How I Sold #Plickers To My Admin

I realized recently that I didn’t have a post dedicated to how I use Plickers in my class. I had how I make sure each student has a card. I also have how they are used in my warm ups. Then, I mentioned that I plan out my Plickers questions when I’m unit planning. But I recently had a conversation with my admin about it and they were completely sold. This was basically what I talked about in the conversation:

So I have about a little over 100 students this semester, last semester I had 120. I know that to some of you that’s not a lot, but to me that was a lot a lot. I had been used to no more than 70 students because I had been teaching in a small school and/or on block scheduling. So I had been trying exit slips at the beginning of the year, like I had done in my previous schools, but it just wasn’t working. They became a chore, and plus with only 50 minutes I kept not being able to fit them in. So now I use Plickers as an exit slip. I also use it before practicing, and in the middle of practicing. So there are many days where I’ll use Plickers 3 or 4 times in a period.

The great thing about Plickers (besides that it’s 100% free), is that it’s immediate feedback, for me and the students. So when I put up a problem, sometimes I’m feeling pretty confident about how it was learned and I expect something like this:

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And instead I get this:

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Whoa…

What happened?

So now I can know that everything I thought was wrong, and I can go over it with the class! Or, I can now group up students and talk to them about what they did and how we could get the right answer. I actually do the second option a lot. I make sure I meet up with every single student, so sometimes I’m talking to a few of them at a time about how they worked out a problem and what they could do differently. I’ll also meet with the ones who got it correct and see if I can extend their knowledge in some way. It’s really cool that I get little meetings with every single student because of their Plickers response and it’s a regular part of the routine now.

Another thing I’ve started to do this quarter is add the “I don’t know” option to all my questions. I never use Plickers for a grade, so the “I don’t know” keeps some the students from lucky guessing. I really stress that I’d rather them be honest about not knowing than guessing for the problems I put up. I still have a couple that insist on guessing, anyway.

Also sometimes it’s important (to me) to have questions like this to gauge how the class is feeling.

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Sometimes my district’s pacing calendar doesn’t let me, but I try to do what my students need/want in terms of practice vs moving on.

And there you have it! #Plickersforever

Je peux parler de Plickers pour toujours.

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My New #Plickers Solution

I love Plickers. I’ve presented the use of Plickers to my staff and at conferences in Illinois. Recently, I applied to be a Plickers Ambassador and now I am one!

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This fall break, I had an idea about storing Plickers in the classroom. This was always the only bad part about Plickers – they take time for students to pick them up if you store them in your room or if you give them to students some inevitably will lose them. But in my class, the students are all assigned a calculator that I store on the wall. They are very used to grabbing this on their way into class because it’s in a hanging shoe organizer right next to the door. Their calculator number is the same as their Plicker number, so I realized that I could just put both together!

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I printed the Plickers so there were two pages on one and that shrunk them so that they fit right onto the battery cover of a TI-84. I taped them on with packing tape to create a pseudo-lamination.

My students even said this was a great idea! I will admit, these don’t work quite as well as the regular-sized Plickers. I have to usually go across the room one extra time – so I spend an extra 30 seconds to scan but gain so much time figuring out who has and doesn’t have their Plicker!

As a side note, I’m glad to be blogging (and will continue blogging). I have missed sharing things. It’s not really something I get to do at my school anymore. Funny how I move from being a single math teacher in the school to one of 10 and I feel like I’m sharing less. I’m really glad Zach @z_crass posted this to the #MTBoS the other day:

Also his message at the top of his sheet is spot on for me:

If you like to blog and see the value in it but seem to always put it off (like me) join the group and we’ll keep each other accountable!

We all know I only blog when there’s a challenge, so I’m taking this as a challenge. I will post more because it helps me (and maybe some other people, too).

Mes étudiants aiment qu’il n’est plus nécessaire de trouver leurs Plickers!