This week for our #15MinForum Anita stepped up to demonstrate how she uses lollipop sticks in her lessons as a questioning and assessment tool. Anita was one of our popular speed daters from our earlier #BringAndBrag CPD session.

Firstly the lollipop sticks are actually tongue compressors! Available here in Malaysia at all good pharmacies for approximately RM6 (about one pound in today’s money) which gets you over 100 sticks. A good width for adding names, questions and colours, better than a more traditional skinnier lollipop stick!

Lollipop sticks crop
Anita sharing her tried and tested ideas of using lollipop sticks to effectively question and assess her students

Anita explained how she had found this idea online and had developed the strategy as she used it. Here are some examples:

  • Write student names on one end and pop in a pot. Each question you ask you pull out a name from the pot. This ensures all students are asked a question in your lesson. Easy to differentiate with your higher order questions.
  • Use the names to select your groupings for your lesson.
  • Print and stick plenary examples on the sticks, ask students to choose one to decide on how you will finish your lesson today.

Lollipop sticks 3

  • Sticks with traffic lights. Anita uses the traffic lights for students to self-assess their learning throughout the lesson. Using little pegs for the students to clip to the red/amber/green section.
  • As a development red/amber/green pots were introduced for students to put their name sticks into at the end of the lesson, this gave Anita an indication of which students needed extra help or reassuring of their knowledge and understanding.
  • Print and stick sentence starters to get the confidence going!
  • Write key words on the sticks. Many activities you could do with these. The key word you pull out must be defined, associated with another key word or topic area, linked to a practical example or person (I was thinking in the PE world!) Great for revision activities.
  • Give each student 2 or 3 sticks. Rather than them asking ten questions! It encourages them to think about the quality of their question as well as finding out the answer independently.

A great #15MinForum with top ideas from Anita and more thrown around by the audience at the end. Easy to make and in a short space of time. Try it with one of your classes and branch out. Any further ideas of using tongue depressors (within a classroom for education purposes!) then let us know.