Plickers, with a “P”

Last week I handed out a 7 question pre-test to my Algebra 1 Concepts & Skills students.  Traditionally this course has student abilities ranging from pseudo understanding linear algebra down to using fingers to do single digit addition.  Over the years, students are exposed to algebra at an earlier age than with pass graduating classes.  The range of abilities continues to spread, and my pre-test confirmed that this trend lives on.  However, this time I was able to utilize my new favorite formative assessment tool and reached my conclusion on the ability range much sooner than in past years.

Collecting and deciphering abilities was much more timely and user friendly using Plickers.  If you are unfamiliar with Plickers, head over to the site and check it out after this post.  You won’t be disappointed!  Students appreciated being able to see the bar graph responses of their classmates, and it allowed for me to adjust how much time we went over a particular question if there was no clear common outcome.  Students were given the opportunity to talk with classmates and adjust their answers.  Discussion over common mistakes were being brought up and pointed out by students without any prompting from me.  I LOVED it!

Once my class rosters settle down, I plan on creating a set of Plicker cards for each class on card stock so each student can “own” their own card.

Also, if you do try this, let a student try scanning the class using your device.  Great sense of ownership over the activity!


5 thoughts on “Plickers, with a “P”

  1. I have been using Plickers in my classroom regularly since about February, and they have changed the way I teach. Formative assessment is now extremely easy, can be planned ahead of time or on the go, and provides me quick, accurate data that I need in order to intervene immediately when student understanding is poor.

    I’m a high school teacher, and so it works much better for me to post a set of Plickers in my room and assign numbers to each student in the class rather than hand them out. The Plickers never leave the room; the students just pull them off the wall when they come in, and put them back on the wall when they come out. It’s great because for different classes I just program different names for the same Plicker card. I teach 7 classes per semester and this tool is still amazingly simple to use, extremely effective, and I can’t ever see myself letting it go.

    Plickers rule!

      • Yes I definitely laminate them. The glare is surprisingly minimal and if it’s bad enough that you can’t see the Plicker when you’re scanning, they only have to be moved slightly to become readable again. In fact, the kids are usually wobbly enough when holding them up that they get picked up instantly, regardless of the light.

        This year I actually double laminated them because they started to get a little wrecked after 3 months of use. So far they are holding out pretty good! I would absolutely recommend you laminate them.

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