21 June 2016

Hands Up - #100DayProject - Day 082

I came across an interesting article on Hand Raising thanks to Angela Maiers that has me thinking about how I have been handling my class participation so far in my career. While I do use the traditional class ritual of hand raising, I also use a number of other methods that I feel are pretty decent.

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Before I share my thoughts, if you haven't yet seen the great Medium article Hands Up: Examining a Classroom Ritual by Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg, please go check it out now because not only does it have some great ideas, it's also done in a clever manner. It's a comic strip. That's why I didn't blockquote any of it. Please go now and read through it, I'll wait.

Okay, you back now? Here are some of my thoughts.

While I agree with the article on the need for more than just hand raising, I do see it's usefulness and ease. I think that's one of the main reasons the raised hand has withstood the test of time and is still used to this day. It's an incredibly easy way to check things with your students. Although, due to it's simplicity, I find the raised hand to be quite vague. Because of that, I've set up hand signals so I'm not land-mined with a HUGELY LONG comment that has NOTHING to do with the topic. My signals are below:

  • Standard Raised Hand
    • I have a question. 
    • Again, the ease of this use case is without question, so why mess with it.
  • Raised Hand with Index Finger Pointing
    • I want to answer a question. 
    • This is a great way to quickly see is going to answer my question versus who still has a question.
  • Raised Hand in a "C" shape
    • I have a comment. 
    • This is one of my favorite signals if my students remember to use it because I HATE when we're having a good discussion but someone kills it with an off the wall comment about nothing in the lesson. So good!
  • Raised Hand in Sign Language Letter "P"
    • I have to use the bathroom. 
    • While I don't always require my students to ask permission to use the bathroom, it's nice to know why they're getting up in the middle of the lesson. Also makes it easier to use the bathroom without pointing out they are headed to the bathroom.
Other than raised hands, I also LOVE pulling popsicle sticks with their names on them so they can't accuse me of always calling on the same person over and over. Quick tip, add your own name so you can use it as a wild card and call on whoever you choose or use it for the new student you forgot to add a stick for. I've done that more times than I'd like to admit. 

I also love using the Class Dojo app because it has a randomizer built in that also helps to keep things from too much repetition. Plus by using the Class Dojo app for calling on people, it's easier to then assign some Dojo points for their participation. Lots of love for the Class Dojo Team. It's a great app and you should consider using it for your classes. 

So, what are your views on hand raising? Do you use it at all? Let me know so I can continue to grow in my profession. I love hearing from readers who both agree with me and also disagree with me because regardless of their choices, I learn from them sharing it with me. 

Thanks again to Angela Maiers for sharing the Hand Raising article on Twitter, It has caused me to do a lot of thinking. While I still like my method, it seldom hurts to consider new ideas and methods in your teaching. 


  1. Amy Barton6/21/2016

    Check out the app "Stick Pick."

    1. Thanks Amy, I'll have to do that. I haven't played with that one before but am always down for a new app trial run!


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