One of the tedious tasks I used to have as an elementary physical educator was to filter through a pile of crumpled, folded, ripped, unreadable pencil-to-paper assessments or exit slips my students handed in to me. Grading these assessments took immense time away from my planning periods. Students often had to wait days to receive feedback on their performance with these assessments. By the time I finished grading these assessments and handed them back to my students, I had moved on to new teaching content.
Then one day, I received a gift from the teaching gods. I discovered Plickers, the most efficient assessment tool you will ever use in your classroom, guaranteed!
Plickers will absolutely, without a doubt, change your teaching life. This resource will eliminate working long hours, grading a pile of assessments, and ensure that you get out of your building in time to buy that first round at ‘happy hour.’
The best part about Plickers…it’s completely free!
So what is Plickers?
Plickers is a simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data from their students without the need for student devices. You can use this resource in your classroom, or during a presentation, to get instant feedback from others by having them answer multiple choice, true/false or survey questions
How Plickers work
Each student is given a card with a unique visual code. The code has 4 sides, each lettered A, B, C, and D. The student holds the card so that the letter they choose to answer the question with is at the top of their card.
Each Plicker card has a unique code and individual letter
New to Plickers?
Let’s get started!
Find Plickers on the web: www.plickers.com/
Print out your Plicker answer cards: You are able to print up to 63 different answer cards. This was the perfect amount for me as I often team teach two classes at the same time in physical education. I can have up to 60 students at a time and assess everyone all at once. Keep a few extra cards on hands in case you get a new student or have to take on extra students from another class.
After you print your cards, you have some options:
Option 1: Leave them as is: I do not recommend this. You’ll find yourself reprinting these often with how quickly they get mangled by the hands of your students.
Option 2: Laminate them: This will work, but not as long as you think. Students will start peeling at the corners of their cards. It will only get worse from there. Curiosity can be the root of all evil when it comes to students getting their hands on your supplies.
Option 3: Laminate them and apply to a hard, durable surface: This is the way to go. I initially started with option 1, restarted with option 2, and then found myself here. Please let me save you the hassle. Start here!
Option 4: Fork up the dough and buy a pre-laminated set: Along with making a set of Plicker cards for my classroom, I also purchased a set of 40 Plicker cards on Amazon so I could have a traveling set for presentations at staff meetings and district / state workshops. This set cost just over $20.00.
My experience with Option 3:
1. I used mini whiteboards that I already had in my classroom and cut them in half with a box-cutter.
2. I printed out the Plicker cards and then applied them to colored construction paper and enlarged the Plicker card number to help my students identify their Plicker card more easily.
3. I laminated the Plicker cards and used packaging tape to apply the laminated portion to the back of the whiteboard. Note: If you use a whiteboard for this process, use the back of it. You can get multiple uses out of what you make, a Plicker card and a whiteboard!
Durability and accessibility will ensure you get the most out of Plickers
Find an accessible location for your students to access their Plicker cards: I teach in a classroom with no desks.
My solution: I used adhesive Velcro (put it on your wishlist) to attach these cards to the walls of my classroom. There are many great ideas out there on how to store your Plicker cards. I know classroom teachers that Velcro these to each desk. Use what works best for you. Just remember to consider the amount of transitional time it will take your students to access these cards any time you plan to use them.
Input or Upload your class rosters:
• I manually entered individual students into my class’s rosters. This took about 2-3 minutes for each class. If you choose to go this route, have a class roster next to you to save time inputting this information.
• If you have an organized grade book online you can simply upload your class rosters to your Plickers classroom.
• As you input students name into your Plickers classroom you will assign each student a specific Plicker card number that they will use.
Set up each class roster and assign students their specific Plicker number
Add Questions to your Plicker Library:
• Transfer questions from quizzes and assessments and input them into your library. Do this ahead of time and have the luxury of pulling up a past question at any time. It takes little time to create questions. I sometimes create questions on the fly in the middle of a lesson or presentation out of curiosity just to gauge where my students are at with my learning content.
• Organization will save you time. Arrange these questions in folders for easier and more efficient access. I divide my questions into grade levels, unit topics, and the five physical education standards I teach to.
• Add questions to each class ahead of time. If I am planning to assess my students during my nutrition lesson, I pre-load questions into those classes ahead of time to stay organized and limit transitional time.
• Insert images into your questions to add more clarity to your questions. I find this feature especially helpful for my younger grades and my English Language Learners.
Create your own library of questions
Plickers in Live Action:
• Play around with this feature before initially implementing with your students. Check out all the bells and whistles and get accustom to the features. This will only help you. Try it out with a couple of your colleagues.
• See the difference. You will have an entirely different perspective of Plickers than your students (see below).
• Instantly know whether your students got it. As you are scanning student answers with your tablet / mobile device you will see your class roster in the top, left corner of your screen. When the camera on your device has scanned a student’s Plicker card, you will see exactly what letter they answered and their name will either turn GREEN for a correct answer or RED for an incorrect answer. In the top, right corner of your screen you will see the number of students who have answered the question along with a simplistic graph indicating the variety of answers your students gave.
What the Teacher Sees
What the Student Sees
Analyze your Results:
• Reveal your Answers: Your class will be eager to know whether or not they answered your question correctly. Don’t leave them waiting in suspense! Show them how the class answered. Although there is a feature to make each student’s answer public to everyone, stay professional and only reveal how the class answered the question. Have a private conversation with those students who want more clarity on their answer.
• Choose your direction: Assessing your students’ learning level with instant results will allow you to modify your instruction accordingly to ensure all students are ready to progress with your learning content.
Use your student feedback to modify your instruction accordingly
• See the learning patterns of each student. Plickers will archive your assessments (pictured below) in each class and create a ‘Scoresheet.’ You will be able to analyze every student’s answers to determine their learning patterns.
• Conquer your Teacher’s Evaluation: Show evidence of student growth and learning by documenting these results. I used this feature to show the percentage of growth for each of my classes in my teacher evaluation.
Crush your teaching evaluation by showing the level of growth in your classroom
If you already use Plickers in your classroom, what are ways you implement this assessment tool?