Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rick Morris Seminar: Equity Cards

In my last two posts, I mentioned a couple ideas that I got from a seminar that I attended in Santa Rosa. The first one pertained to the differentiation of hand signals and the second pertained to the various uses of musical transitions. I have one last idea that I have to share with you from this seminar. I will call that idea equity cards.

Just to be clear, equity sticks are popsicle sticks with a single student's name on it. Perhaps, one side of the popsicle stick has that student's name in green and on the other side, that student's name in red. The equity sticks are placed in a can. If the red name is facing up, that student has already been called on once and must wait until everyone else has been called on. If the green name is facing up, that student has not been called on yet and should be called on in the near future. 

I'm not quite sure whether Rick actually calls them equity cards, but for now, that's what I will call them. Anyway, the idea is simple and its supposed to be a substitute for equity sticks. Take a stack of index cards. Let's say you have 23 students in your class. You will need 23 index cards. Take an index card. Set it vertically. At the top of the index card, take a quarter of space to write the student's first and last name. Do the same for the remaining 22 index cards. Once your desk is ready, it should be set so that the names are facing up so that you can see them. When you call on someone to answer, you can either pick up a name from the top or you can spread the cards out a bit to pick from 4 or 5 other students. After a student answers, put that student's card at the bottom of the deck facing down. Once all cards are face down, you will know that every student has answered.

There is one other feature that I need to talk about for these equity cards. And actually, if not for the feature that I'm about to describe, I doubt that there would be much benefit in using them. Think of some ways to classify a student's response. Let's say, A for answer, B for blurt out, C for comment, Q for question, and N for non-answer. Now, whenever a student answers, the moment they provide a response, you can record their response. This will provide you a record of a student's behavior during instruction. Whether collecting information like that or even other information pertaining to a student's mode of participation is worth the work to you is another question. If having that information doesn't change how you teach or how you react to student's behavior, it is probably of no use to you.

Now, if making a record like that is too much work for you, then there is an app for it. Apparently, for now, the app is only for the iPhone. If you just type in Rick Morris, you'll probably find something pertaining to index cards. It's supposed to be available for the Android OS in March. Having an app would save you the trouble of counting all the data. The app would do that for you.

Anyway, an idea for thought.

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