Call on Students

Another way to engage students is to call on them to participate.

This is the third in a series of posts about engaging your students in puberty class. Read Part 1 HERE.

Strategy #3: Call on Students

Another way to keep students engaged in puberty class is to call on students to participate in discussions or reviews of previous instruction. Using a variety of strategies will help students pay attention in case they are the next student to be asked to respond.

Ask questions that all students can answer:

Students are more likely to offer an answer if they feel confident that they can “get it right.” This can be accomplished by asking a question on a topic that you just taught and think students probably know the answer. It can also be accomplished by asking a question that has multiple acceptable answers. Asking “gotcha” questions that will make students feel defeated or embarrassed is likely to put an end to student participation.

Give the right to pass:

Give students the right to pass if they aren’t ready to answer a question or speak when they are called on. This is a trauma-informed strategy because it gives students some control and choice.

Ask a consultant:

If a student doesn’t know the answer, encourage them to turn to another student to request a consultation. They can request help from someone else in the class and then answer the question. On the television show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” this was called “using a lifeline” called “phone a friend.”

Ask for volunteers:

This is a commonly used strategy for calling on students. If this approach is used, be aware that you are likely to hear from extroverts and verbally fluent students most often. This can leave out students who are more introverted or reticent to volunteer but have plenty of ideas to share.

Go in a particular order:

Consider calling on students in a predictable pattern so they know when their turn is coming. This can be done according to a seating chart or by alphabetical order. This can reduce the stress of not knowing when one will be called upon. On the other hand, it can allow students to drift off after they are called on because they know it won’t be their turn again for a while. You can alleviate this by calling “reverse” and changing the direction every now and then.

Use a fairness cup:

Call on students by drawing names randomly from a cup. Prepare a set of craft sticks or popsicle sticks with each student’s name on one stick. Place all the name sticks in a cup. Once a stick is pulled, place it in a second cup until the fairness cup is empty. Then, start over. This strategy prevents you from calling on the same students repeatedly. Another variation is to pull sticks out and then replace them in the same cup, but this method doesn’t ensure that every student is called on. Have students decorate their own name stick to find out what name they would like you to use. If you like, ask students to add their pronouns on the other side of the stick. 

Use a random name drawing tool:

Another strategy to call on students randomly is to use a digital name drawing tool. Simply type in your students’ names and then activate the spinning wheel. Whatever name it lands on will be the student who is asked to respond. Many free tools are available.

This is part 3 of a six-part series on Engaging Students in Puberty Class. Read part 4 HERE.

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