Archive for the ‘classroom management’ Tag

Quiz Quiz Trade – A Review Game

It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s useful.

What you need:

  • A set of questions and answers printed or written out on cards.
  • One card for each student.
  • About five minutes.

You can create the cards, or let students do this, or you can do it yourself using index cards or a table in Word.


  • Teacher announces: Quiz Quiz Trade
  • Students:
  • Find a partner.
  • Student 1 asks Student 2 the question on the card.
  • Student 2 either answers it or says I don’t know. (It is important to the speed of the game that students admit when they don’t know)
  • Student 1 either congratulates Student 2 or goes over the answer.
  • Student 2 then repeats the procedure with Student 1.
  • Student 1 and Student 2 trade cards and find a new partner.
  • I usually let students play Quiz Quiz Trade for about 5 minutes.

They know I will stop the game immediately at the first sign of inappropriate behavior, and since they love it that is enough to keep this activity running smoothly.

When I introduce the game, I have two students come stand at the front of the room, and wallk them through the process I have written out above.  I review “deal-breakers” which for me include: running, refusing to take a question from a classmate, faces made at classmates, anything derogatory or rude, anything that is not class/topic related.

I usually monitor by wandering through the milling crowd with a card. Some students like to ask me the questions, so I always carry a card.

I learned this strategy at a Kagan Cooperative Learning workshop, and if you ever get the opportunity to attend one I highly recommend it!

Clock Partners

This is a partnering strategy that I believe will be the trifecta:

  • everyone pairs with everybody else at some point
  • once practiced, it should be a seemless and easy transition to partners
  • something the students can see as fair – thus limiting complaints

In this strategy, students are given a blank clock face, and asked to “make appointments” with each other to fill up the hours, for up to twelve partners. I say “up to” as some teachers only assign even or odd numbers to make the number of partners more manageable.  Eve Heaton, of Science Notebooking, has posted about this in detail on her blog, along with a nice clock face.

After re-reading her posts, and doing some additional reading on Proteacher and AtoZ Teacherstuff forums I’ve thought through my procedures. I’m going to start doing this in January, and break the process down into steps. If it goes well, I’ll do it next year starting in August. I don’t plan on spending more than 10 minutes per day over three days on the setup and practice.

Day 1:

  • Introduce the idea and “ground rules”
    • If someone asks you to be their buddy, you must say yes. No making faces, no backing away.
    • Walk and talk quietly as you make your appointments.
    • Pass out the clocks, and have them write their name in the middle.
    • Today we will make appointments for 2, 6, and 10 o’clock.
    • These will be partners I have chosen for them. I will review the ground rules of being polite. No making faces or comments.
    • To create these pairs I will rank the students ability-wise in order from highest to lowest. Then I will split this list in half and place them side by side. Since there are three appointments needed, I pair the student at the top of the left column with the first three students on the right, making adjustments as needed.
    • I will make a master spreadsheet of these teacher created pairs and show them on my Promethean board.
    • Procedure for students:
      • Find your 2 o’clock partner and stand back to back.
      • I will check to make sure everyone is responding appropriately and in they are paired correctly, then they can write their partners names in the correct part of the clock.
      • To avoid accidental “overbooking” I’m going to have them color in the space for that hour.
      • Repeat for the other two teacher chosen appointments.
      • Students will glue clocks in to their notebooks.

Day 2

  • Students will pair with their clock partners to answer some review questions from yesterdays lessons. Three questions, one for each appointment we made yesterday.
  • Today we will make three more appointments – 2, 6, and 10 o’clock.
  • Procedure for finding partners:
    • Students will choose a partner of the opposite gender and turn back to back.
    • When I see that everyone has a partner, then they can write their partners names in the correct part of the clock.
    • To avoid accidental “overbooking” I’m going to have them color in the space for that hour.

Day 3

  • Students will answer review questions from yesterday’s lesson by working with their clock partners. 2 questions today, one partner from the first day and one partner from the second day.
  • We will make 3 appointments today at 12, 4, and 8 o’clock. These will be “student choice” partners – they will only be limited to students who are not already on their clocks.
  • Procedure for finding partners:
    • Students will choose a partner and turn back to back.
    • When I see that everyone as a partner, then they can write their partners names in the correct part of the clock.
    • To avoid accidental “overbooking” I’m going to have them color in the space for that hour.

This will leave three open spaces on the clock, but will create 9 pairs. My average class size is eighteen, so I could add a friend for a class of twenty, or take one away for a class of 16. I still control what groups I want them to work in by calling the hour, so it doesn’t matter.

Random thoughts:

  • students whose partner is not there will report to the board and I will assign them to a group.
  • I think I will use a spinning wheel on my promethean board with the clock numbers on it to occasionally choose “hours” to increase the “random” factor.
  • I want to make a concerted effort to use the strategy at least two to three times a week.

Variation on the Clock:

  • Baseball Partners – Diagram of a baseball field, four partners.
  • Ocean/Continent Partners – Outline Map of the world, 7+ partners depending on how many you fill in.
  • Cell phone partners (same principle as clock using the keypad numbers instead of hours)

I would love to hear from you if you successfully use this strategy – please include your tips and tricks or if you know another variation!

Buehler? . . . Beuhler? . . . Anybody? . . . Better ways to call on students

Susie in the front row has her hand up, as always.
Damian, off to the side, looks like he might actually suffer some sort of injury if you don’t call on him.
Scott is just glad those two have their hands up so he doesn’t have to.

It is a scenario that plays out in classrooms across the country on a daily basis. The same kids put their hands up, and the same kids “check out”.

One way to avoid the scenario completely is to use cooperative learning structures instead. That’s another post.

Another way to avoid this is to use some method of randomly calling on students so that they never know when they are going to be called on – only that at some point, they will.

Traditional Methods of Random Calling

  • Craft/Popsicle Sticks. For each class you teach, write each student’s name on a stick. Keep them in a jar/cup. Choose as needed. I like using the colored sticks for this, because I can give each class a color.
  • Index Cards. On the first day of class, have students fill out index cards with basic information and their names in print letters big on the blank side of the index card. Shuffle the deck, choose as needed. A plus for this is being able to jot down notes on students as you go.
  • Playing Cards. Print out labels with your students names and attach them to playing cards. Shuffle. Choose as needed.

I used to be a big proponent of the craft stick – it just takes up so much room, and writing the names out is so tedious. With the introduction of my Promethean board, I prefer the following techie options. (If you don’t have a smart board of any kind, this still works on a computer. I believe most handhelds (pdas) also have some type of name generator software available.

Techie Ways of Random Calling

  • Super Teacher Tool’s Random Name Generator   –  I really like this one as it makes it easy for you to type in your class list once, and be done with it. The Name Generator is a cute clipboard graphic with the chosen child’s name on it. I made each class page a favorite in the same folder so I can bring up all four pages with one click. You can also use the same class list to generate groups and seating charts.
  • Class tools random
  • Classtool’s Fruit Machine – If you haven’t Classtools they are definately worth a visit. This particular tool allows you to input your class list, and then either use the “fruit machine” which looks like a slot machine to randomly select students or use the typewriter function to do the same. You can either have your kids typed up in a word document and paste in as needed, or you can embed the finished product in your webpage. Thank you, Mrs. Smith for the idea. I teach four classes, so I just embedded four different fruit machines on my page.
  • fruit machine

If you have any other ways of randomly selecting students, please share!