Monday, August 12, 2013

WBT Book Club Chapter 25: Smart Cards

Yes/No Smart Cards

Smart Cards are a very low-tech, cost effective way to assess student comprehension of material.  Each student is given either one or two index cards.  Labeled with "Yes" and "No," they can be used any time the teacher needs to check student understand.  They are a good alternative to small, hand-held white boards and computer, hand-held clickers.  

It's painful to admit, but I have a bad habit of teaching until bell time.  I am aware of this and am conscious of managing my time more wisely.  Smart Cards would be very effective with time management.  If I added this activity into my lesson plans and used them consistently, it would definitely help me manage time.  

Smart Cards could also be a great way to quickly track student understanding of daily topics.  Too often teachers wait until test results to discover students that did not master material.  By then, it is too late to review because new material must be taught.  I think I will use a class roster with the cards so I can mark students that need more help.  

Too often, the teacher will review content by calling on individual students.  Smart Cards provide a good effective way to assess all students at the same time.  Finally, they provide the teacher with a great way to monitor the "underperforming student."  These kids have a knack for sliding under the radar.    Many wait until others speak answers and then repeat those answers, or they just agree with the majority of the class.  Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids suggests Smart Cards be used with voting.  After a question has been given, students quickly "vote" by showing either their "Yes" or "No" card, and then, they quickly lower their card.  This effective technique would not allow students "to see" other student's answers.  I like this because I'll be able to get an accurate measure of student comprehension.

As a tech junkie, I am very fortunate to have my own set of SMART Board Clickers.  After reading this chapter, I definitely need to be using them more.  I have never used Smart Cards, but I think they will be put to good use in my classroom this fall.  This will certainly be a great, instant way to assess students at any level!