Stick Pick: Promote Higher Thinking and Student Engagement


Stick Pick is an iPad app that helps you choose students at random to answer questions during student engagement. Stick Pick allows you to enter your class roster, or several class rosters. You can then categorize each student based on Bloom’s Taxonomy or ELL proficiency. After questions are asked,  the teacher can mark the student’s answer as correct or incorrect or scale it on a rubric. This then provides formative data for the teacher to use when he or she is ready to assess.  If a student is consistently scoring near the top or bottom, the teacher can simply change the level of learning so students aren’t bored or frustrated. You are also able to peek at the next stick if you want to intentionally call on a child.This is an amazing tool to use if you are trying to promote more student engagement while pushing students to use higher level thinking.

Stick Pick was recommended to me at a staff training. Our district has heavily implemented SIOP, or Sheltered Instruction Observational Protocol, this year. It is a framework that helps teachers successfully design and implement lessons that promote academic content and language skills for all learners. This has been one of the most amazing trainings I have ever experienced, so I was excited to try out any tool that would instantly facilitate what I was learning in the classroom.

My district provides a catalog of purchased apps that any teacher can download from. I was able to download the app without paying $3.99 on iTunes (however I do feel like I would pay that price without a doubt). After downloading it, I began implementing Stick Pick in the classroom instantly. I attempted to enter four class rosters, because I teach in four different kindergarten classrooms. I was able to successfully put in three classes. When I went to put in the last one, I could not get it to successfully save. I began to use the app in three out of four classrooms.

Stick Pick was incredibly easy to use. I was able to keep my iPad with me and use it to call on students, when I would normally just pick at random. The kindergarteners loved when I used it as well. It was exciting for them to see who was picked, and they were always engaged waiting for a chance to get their turn for input. There is even a fun sound effect you can turn on loud when you pick the sticks. It surprised me how intentional I needed to be about picking kids at random. I think it is easy for teachers to rely on their higher learners to lead discussion and answer correctly. This isn’t beneficial for other students. Every student needs to have the opportunity to use their language skills along with academic thinking. This was the biggest change for me, simply how I thought as a teacher.

The question stems were incredibly helpful, especially with the young learners I teach. Kindergarteners have the tendency to give you one word answers for various reasons, and the question stems really help a teacher guide the student to elaborate on their answer. Following their answers, you are able to track the responses on the spot and use the data effectively when formatively assessing.

The SAMR model helps me effectively assess the effect the technology I am using in the classroom and decides how it impacts teaching and learning. I think that Stick Pick falls under Augmentation. It is an effective tool that helps me and the students perform common tasks. I would be facilitating student engagement with or without this app, but it definitely helps me take it to the next level and really foster higher academic thinking on both sides.

Personally, I feel like I still have a lot of exploring to go with Stick Pick. My goal for the next school year is to be more consistent when tracking student responses to prompts and then effectively using the data. I would also like some sort of rubric that helps me place my students in the correct level of taxonomy in the beginning. I think I would definitely benefit from further PD specifically geared towards this app and promoting higher level thinking in general.

This is an amazing app. I did have some troubles while using it. It did force quit a lot, and sometimes it didn’t save my sticks that were pulled and not pulled. However, I have not tried simple troubleshooting steps yet, and I think this may be solved with a quick update or re-download. Stick Pick has changed my way of thinking in regards to promoting higher thinking with my students. I know that I have just began to use it effectively, and I feel like I will continue to grow, which will in turn benefit my students immensely!

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