October 13, 2014

How to Pick Random Volunteers in the Art Room

We have all been there, that moment when you have to call on a student to answer a question and the same kids raise their hands and the same ones don't. You get to know your students well in an art room having them year after year and you know which students know the answer, which ones don't and who isn't paying attention.
The last thing you want to do is crush a student's esteem by calling out this behavior and having them stare at you blankly unable to answer.
This look. 
Yeah. That look. It happens.

But how can you fairly call on students in the art room? Classroom teachers have Popsicle sticks. That's great when you teach 25 students, but what about 400? Who wants to write names on 400 sticks? No One. And then where to you keep them when they aren't in use? Counter space is just to precious to waste on this idea.

Well here is an idea.
A few years ago our school began using TAPPLE. We were all encouraged to use a stick system to choose non-volunteers.

Since I teach so many students I came up with this system that hangs in an awkward unused space next to my smartboard.

How to Make Your Non Volunteer Ring

  1. I copied the students' names from my master list onto an address label template (Avery Labels 5160) ( I always keep a running master list of students names to create checklists and labels)
  2. Printed them off
  3. Stuck labels construction paper. I used a different color for each grade level. 
  4. Laminate construction paper.
  5. Then cut them into rectangles. 
  6.  Holed punched one end
  7. Organize by class and put on books rings.

Yes, it is a bit of work up front, but once you get it done, you can reuse them each year. Most of these jobs can be given to our the art room groupies who prefer to be with you than their classrooms recess!

 I can flip through these any time to get random volunteers(for jobs, errands, questions etc).
Does it work?
Yes! Students no longer raise their hands to volunteer when I have the ring in hand. All students will pay attention and have the answer ready because they can no longer depend on "Sally" to give the correct answer every time. When a student doesn't have the answer, move onto another random student. If two random students don't know it is most likely that most students don't and you need to quickly reflect and reteach that part of the lesson in a new way. Then go back to the student who didn't know the answer and have them answer the question again. By this time everyone has it and you can move on! 

I also have blanks for new students and a few that say teacher choice in each ring. Every year I just re-sort them and add in our new students. I used these small decorative Command hooks to hold them in place by my board. Gotta love Command hooks! I buy them at the craft stores with a coupon when I need them.

So there you have it! A quick and easy (non-popsicle) way to call on your students randomly!
Does your school use TAPPLE? How do you call on students-let them raise hands, pick your favorites or some other way?

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