Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Lucky or Unlucky Draw

As a trainee teacher, I sometimes use lollipop sticks within the classroom when teaching. I usually write the names of each child in the class onto a lollipop stick, corresponding to the colour of their table and place them into a jar. When carrying out whole class teaching children often have a reluctance to put their hands up, even though the majority of the time they know the answer to what has been asked. Also I have found some children deviate off task. The use of lollipop sticks help to keep children on their toes (anyone can be picked), encourage fair participation and also add excitement to the classroom. 

An alternative could be to draw a coloured lollipop stick and ask a child from that coloured table to contribute to the discussion. Other uses could be to determine which child takes the register or collects the books in at the end of the lesson. There are many ways in which you could use them, however it is important to use them sparingly, or the excitement generated by their use could be impacted. 

I hope you enjoy using them, 

Ben :-)

I would personally like to thank Professor Valsa Koshy, of Brunel University, for the critical analysis that she provided on this concept (in the comments below). She is a very experienced teacher and mathematical author, with many publications to date. Therefore I am delighted that she took the time to visit my blog.  


  1. Professor Valsa Koshy7 February 2013 at 00:49

    Dear Ben

    I have used the sticks in various ways with primary and secondary children - not just in mathematics teaching, but also in other contexts - including professional development sessions with teachers. They are great,

    Here are some ways I have used them.

    For grouping - rather than ask 'get into groups of 5' etc, I try to say - groups by colour or say 'make sure there is at least one of each colour in each group' and so on.

    Taking turns to speak in groups or for assign tasks - say eg. ' make sure the yellow stick holders are in charge of reporting to the whole class after the session today.

    I remember a BBC 2 programme last year by Professor Dylan william who used these sticks in very effective ways.

    I would recommend the sticks for participation and a lot of other ways to engage chidlren in their learning.

    Professor Valsa Koshy, Brunel University

    1. Thank you so much for your critical feedback, its great to hear from an experienced professional and mathematical author. You have definitely inspired me to use these in a number of different ways. I will also try to access the BBC programme too. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to my blog.

      Kind Regards,
      Ben :)