Giving Your Students a Voice using Polling
Imagine: You are teaching a new topic to your class, your lesson is prepared, it’s engaging, interactive, and the execution is perfect, but….you hear the faint sound of crickets coming from the direction of your students. Sudden thoughts cross through your mind:
“Are they getting it? Do they understand what I am saying? Do they have any questions?”
At this point in the lesson, you can ask your class these questions, gain some feedback, answer questions, and move on with your lesson. But what about those that are too nervous to say anything? What about your ESL students? What about the ones that are too lost to even construct a question? So, why not put those mobile devices to good use with ClassFlow interactive polling?
Interactive polling provides a quick and easy way to receive ALL student responses and feedback. You can integrate polling opportunities into your lesson as you recreate it as well as seize the opportunity when it arises in class. Polling students is similar to asking a question to a student body, except that the results are instantaneous, able to be manipulated, and more accurate than trying to count raised hands. Integrate polling questions within your ClassFlow lesson with different levels of questioning.
Here are some items to consider while preparing your questions:
Don’t over do it.
We find it is important to consider that your students need time to comprehend the information presented by you as well as time to understand each polling concept. Educators tell us that using 4 – 8 questions per 50 – 75 minute lessons allows students this time.
Mix up your questioning style.
Using a variety of question types keeps students thinking about the material presented in the poll. Consider these question types:
- Recall Questions ask students to recall information.
- Conceptual Understanding Questions are used to test for understanding of concepts or reveal common misconceptions.
ClassFlow Polling Type Example: Multiple Choice
- Critical Thinking Questions require students to connect concepts or evaluate situations based on known criteria, and analyze relationships among concepts.
ClassFlow Polling Type Example: Word Seed
- Application Questions ask students to apply knowledge they have obtained on a subject and apply it to a relevant situation.
ClassFlow Polling Type Example: Text
- Monitoring Questions ask students to self reflect.
ClassFlow Polling Type Example: Yes/No
- Student Perspective Questions allow students to reflect on their own personal experiences and ask them to share their opinions.
ClassFlow Polling Type Example: Creative
- Confidence Level Questions ask students to assess their own confidence level on a particular topic.
ClassFlow Polling Type Example: Scale
Use polling for different purposes.
Some questions may be used to review past concepts, while others may be used to assess the knowledge your students possess with a current topic. Here are some ways where polling can be present in your classroom:
- Quick questions allow students time to think about the question and to submit their responses individually. These questions are often simple formative assessments on material just covered in a lesson. If you are using ClassFlow’s interactive polling, you may find it useful to go back and review the results of your delivered polls for your lesson the next day.
- Quizzing your students using polling allows for quick review of previous topics, perhaps reflecting on an assigned reading, or a more formal way of checking understanding instantaneously. You may choose to go over the results with your students and quickly uncover any common misconceptions or areas of strength.
- Creating a concept map using the interactive poll results viewer allows the teacher to connect student thoughts and answers to help students organize and illustrate knowledge of a subject.
- Students can work in small groups to answer a question posed to the entire class. You can pose a question with answer choices that might be based on the reading or assignments required for that lesson. The students group are asked to discuss the reasoning for their answer choice.
- Predicting results from an image, diagram, audio, or video shown in class can can lead to discussion about outcomes that are more or less likely to occur. Have students predict those results using a creative poll.
- Whole-class discussions are generated from posing a question to the entire class based on an opinion about a certain topic or controversial issue. Using ClassFlow’s interactive polling feature, you may choose to have to students answer these questions anonymously.
- Think-Pair-Share is an activity when using in-class polling as the model. Present your question to the class and ask your students to submit their responses without talking to anyone. Stop the poll and do not let them see the class responses.
Now, ask them to turn to the person next to them and discuss the question. Ask them to come to a consensus and starting a new poll on the results page from the last poll, ask the same question, and ask them to submit their decision. You can now display the responses and show the responses from both the individual poll and the poll given with their partner. You should see a larger number of students responding with the correct answer after discussing it within their pairs.
You may choose to have students discuss why they may have changed their answer after discussing it with their partner. This is yet another way to guide discussion amongst common misconceptions.
Allowing students to share their opinions and knowledge allows lessons to be more engaging. It creates an open learning environment, and it promotes a positive teacher-student relationship. At the same time, interactive polling gives teachers instantaneous insight into what their students are thinking, learning, and feeling throughout the entire class. But even with all of these valuable reasons to use interactive polling in class, it all goes back to every student having a voice in the classroom.
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