Equitable Opportunities

Image by:  Salvatore

I believe educators want the best for their students.  Teachers need to be able to utilize effective strategies to meet the needs of all students. Differentiated instruction, along with active student participation contribute to overall learning that occurs in an elementary classroom.  Most elementary teachers have around 25 + students in each classroom, ranging from below grade level achievement to gifted.  The strategy that I’m talking about in this post isn’t only for elementary classrooms. I’ve seen it utilized effectively at the middle and even high school levels.

It doesn’t take much time for teachers to find that some students are more willing to answer questions than others. Teachers are generally able to identify these students quickly.  These specific students are more likely to enthusiastically throw their hand in the air to answer a question that a teacher may pose. Experienced teachers understand that some students tend limit their own participation for a variety of reasons.  As an educator, I believe it’s important to allow all students an opportunity to contribute to the classroom.  I’ve found that utilizing equity sticks has improved student participation and learning in my classroom.  The sticks can also be used to group students for cooperative learning opportunities.  I have even used them for a math class, to teach probability concepts. For example: the likelihood that a particular student’s name will randomly be picked out of a jar.

One way to create and then utilize this strategy:

1.)  Grab your classroom roster and a package of large popsicle sticks.

2.)  Write/print out names on each stick.

3.)  Put all of the sticks into some type of jar

4.)  Pose a question and pick out a name.  The “winner” gets to answer the question.

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