Flip Sticks are an amazing participation tool for calling on students at random! The idea of using name sticks is nothing new. In fact, this classroom management strategy has been around for a long time. Unfortunately, what I didn’t learn until a few years into teaching, was how to keep track of which students had already been called on. I would pick a stick and set that stick aside, but when the “question session” was over, I would just put all the sticks back in the cup. So, the next time I used the sticks, I probably was picking the same students and not even realizing it. Yikes! How frustrated (or relieved) some of my students must have felt. Luckily, the solution to this problem is simple, the trick is to FLIP THE STICK!!!
So meet Flip Sticks!
Here’s how you use them:
1. Have all of the sticks facing watermelon seed side up (or however you decorate them).
2. Pull out a student’s stick and call on them.
3. FLIP the stick and place it back in the cup (green side up).
4. Now, you can see which student has already been called on.
5. Anytime you use the sticks to call on students you can quickly see which students have already had a turn (green side up).
6. Once all students have had a turn (all green sides is facing up), you can grab the entire set of sticks and flip them back over to watermelon seeds up to start again.
You can use any two designs or colors that you choose. I like using the watermelons because I easily remember that watermelons start from a seed, so the seed side up of the stick is the beginning (meaning students haven’t had a turn yet).
Here’s a quick DIY tutorial to make Flip Sticks. All you need are a set of jumbo craft sticks, Mr. Sketch Markers, a black sharpie, and Avery 5160 labels (optional).
I like using labels because at the end of the year I just peel them off and add new student labels for the following year. Otherwise, you can use sharpie to write names on the sticks and (have a parent volunteer) make a new set each year.
So let’s get started! First you line up a set of jumbo craft sticks, and mark the halfway point on the top stick. Use your pink marker to draw a line down the center and color one half pink.
Then, color the other half green.
That’s it! Your beautiful watermelon Flip Sticks are ready to put in a cup and use!