Saturday, June 19, 2010

My good old pot

On Thursday, I used the cold calling technique Dr. Monroe talked about in class.  We cut up a copy of the seating chart and put all the pieces into a small flower pot.  As usual, I got to a point in my lesson when student participation came to halt.  It’s either zero participation or the same hands I always see after every question.  It was time for the pot, and my literal words were, “I have a little pot over here.”  The meaning didn’t even cross my mind. The class laughed, but the class laughs at everything so my word choice didn’t even faze me.  It wasn’t until after class that Mr. Walker told me what I had done, and of course, it was while Mr. Roth, the principal, was observing my lesson.  I guess everyone picked up on my special choice of words except me.  I say it’s a testament to my clean, drug free mind, and everyone else’s can stay in the gutter.  : )   D.A.R.E worked on me.

            Okay, so now I should talk about the result of my little pot.  I have to say, I wasn’t the biggest fan, but that’s more because of the way I approached it.  The little cut up pieces of printer paper were hard to grasp, and it took more time than expected to grab a name.  The students did seem a little more afraid and on the edge of their seats.  Also, I kept drawing absent people’s names or the same name over and over.  I know there was one girl who didn’t look too pleased by how many times her name came up.  I like the idea in theory, and I will try it again, but next time I will use index cards.  I would much rather hold a stack of names that I can just shuffle in my hands.  The process would also go a lot faster.

            On Friday, I watched another teacher use the method, and I believe she had better results with it.  When I used the technique, it was the first time the students had seen it.  I’m not sure they always pick up on what’s going on the first time.  It usually takes time for it to sink in.  Anyway, they seemed more responsive on Friday.  When she threatened the “cup” (not the pot haha) more student’s hands shot up.  I found it interesting, however, that students are more inclined to raise their hand if the cup is threatened.  It appears that they are willing to “save” their more clueless classmates from having to answer.  She would hold off on the cup if she saw more hands shoot up, but I think the cup should still be used.  The cup keeps those students who NEVER raise their hand still in the running for participation.  Anyway, those are my two cents on this cold calling technique.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend


  1. So, I read this blog post so I could get some insight from the reigning 1st Year Teacher of the Week, haha. It has been very interesting to ready everyone's perspective on their chosen alternate questioning techniques. I think it's really hard to gauge the true success or failure of a technique until we have a chance to compare it to another attempt at the same technique. Nevertheless, it seems like the goal of cold calling was accomplished in your attempt. Every student knew that their name could be called at anytime. Although your choice of words was very comical, I think the overall effectiveness of cold calling was pretty good. I'm sure you got some great advice from the brain-trust who witnessed that first, of what will hopefully be many attempts at cold calling.

  2. oh that is really good topic and cold calling is very hard to do thanks for telling some about cold calling thanksDissertation Proposal