December 17, 2003
Mathematics classes can easily be dominated by those who love mathematics, leaving others slumped in their seats begging to be left alone. I ensure that each student gets equal participation time using my CARD SYSTEM. On the first day of school I have each student fill out a white index card with their name, school number, parents' names and telephone numbers, email addresses, etc. I shuffle up the cards, and keep cycling through them asking questions throughout the lesson. Sometimes a question means a quick response, sometimes it means an explanation, sometimes it means reading the answer to a homework problem, and sometimes it means a trip to the chalkboard. At the end of the lesson I shuffle the cards of those whom I have called on, and put them underneath the pile of those who were not called that day. Once the students understand the system, they love the fairness and randomness of their participation; I love it because I now know I am not favoring the better students, the more aggressive students, or the students who are sitting in the front row! I also use the cards as my address book for contacting the parents, emailing the students, etc.