A Twist on the Traditional Popsicle Sticks

We’ve all heard of the traditional can o’ popsicle sticks used to randomly call students to answer or share. Here’s a twist  on this  method to encourage participation in discussions from all your students.

Here’s how it works:

-Before each lesson (small group works best), give each student a select number of popsicle sticks. One or two for large groups, more for students in groups that are smaller. Just make sure that for the amount of sticks you hand out, you’ve got that many questions to ask!

-Introduce it to your students. It might sound something like this, “We are a community of learners so we can learn from one another. I want us all to have an opportunity to answer, discuss, and share so we’re going to use these sticks to make sure we all have an opportunity to participate. When you answer a question, make a comment, etc. you will give me your stick (or put it in the jar). Even if you blurt out, you still have to give up a stick. By the end of the lesson, we want to hear from everyone so no one should have any sticks left.”

-As you ask a question or open the floor for discussion, students give you a stick to answer. Students who are eager to answer or share (and probably dominate a lot of discussions) will soon be out of popsicle sticks leaving room for others to participate and for them to listen. Students who are reluctant to participate will be encouraged to use their sticks.

-Scaffold your questions so all students can use their sticks to participate with confidence!

Give it a try in your class and let us know how it goes!

Math Facts Fluency

Just like Emma- we are working on math fluency this month at Lockard! These are pretty basic ideas but I thought I’d share how we’ve been tackling this focus in Kindergarten.

I created these half sheets and printed a ton of them front and back image1

Then before math meeting I started flashing cards with addition facts up to 5. I have also played this song a couple times https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNJSKhIT4U4&feature=share

We also sing the “doubles song”

“Let’s do doubles baby, Let’s do doubles. Let’s do doubles baby let’s do doubles.
1+1=2 whoo, 2+2=4 more!, 3+3= 6 kicks! 4+4=8 thats great!, 5+5 =10 again! Let’s do doubles baby let’s do doubles!”

Then I told kids we were going to start practicing our addition facts fluency. I explained that everyone would get a half sheet and pencil, take it to their seat write their name and fold their hands and begin writing their answers when I said go. Then I would give them one minute to answer as many questions as they could.


After this first time trying, the kids did pretty good. Obviously some got all 24 and some got 0 but they got a good idea of the concept. After this, I went through and counted how many they got right and make this simple tracker.

Math tracker

I highlighted the kids who grew in the number they could do in a minute so kids knew the more yellow squares, the more growth. This chart has helped me a lot too- Its right by the board so now I can see who I need to call on in whole group when we’re reviewing addition facts.


I’ll continue doing addition for one more week and then move to subtraction! This easy tracker can be really helpful for knowing who needs math interventions as well! Hope this helps!