Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teacher Ideas: Green If You Get It, Red If You Don't

We are trying something new with the Media Center blog this term: teacher ideas. Teachers can write short articles, submit them to me, and we'll post them on the blog. At the end of the term, we will collect and publish these articles in the form of a newsletter. Our hope is that the blog becomes a useful vehicle for sharing teaching ideas with one another throughout the term, on an ongoing basis. Thanks to Jeanine for the first submission!

Image courtesy of Kate Ter Haar on Flickr.

Green If You Get It, Red If You Don't, by Jeanine Efthimiou

As I was going through renovation work last fall and spending lots of my time in hardware stores, I passed by paint color sample cards many times a week and an idea crossed my mind. I thought that if some students may be too shy or feel embarrassed to say that they don’t understand something in the classroom, they might feel more comfortable showing it visually using those cards.

I picked 30 red cards and 30 green cards to function like a red light/green light code. Each student receives a green and a red card at the beginning of the class. Whenever I check on their understanding, showing the green card means that they understand and we may continue with the class whereas showing the red card means that they don’t and that we need to stop and provide further explanation.

I've been using the cards in my classes and they are just a great tool. They are especially useful at the beginning of the term when most students do not know each other and may be reserved to express the fact they don’t understand something. 

When I see only green cards up in the air, it gives me a nice feeling of satisfaction. There is, however, one problem with the red-green color code: I had a colorblind student in the winter and it didn’t work for him. 

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