Polleverywhere Lesson Idea
School started early for us this year. So, here we are two weeks in and a week in with students. We are off to a good start here, and my classes look like a great bunch. I look forward to working with them this year. I spend a lot of time throughout the year evaluating various technologies and resources and sharing them with other educators. These educators range from pre-service teachers in method classes to seasoned teachers in professional development workshops. My sharing of these resources does not mean I use them all in my own teaching. Using all these in one course would get confusing and be detrimental to both the students and me. Periodically I take the time to look at what I am using to help me decide whether I should swap out any resources. I almost decided to stop using Polleverywhere in my high school classes. Polleverywhere is an online polling system. This decision stemmed from my thoughts that I have other resources that do the same job and more. Ultimately, I decided not to though. I thought of a particular lesson that I did a few times in the past that I want to bring back.
The lesson is called 4 Corners Activity. I was given this activity by a colleague when I first started teaching at my current high school position seven years ago. I see the activity as an alternative to debates. It provides more options than just pro and con. In the more physical version, students can move between corners as the class discussion takes place to reflect their stance on the topic. Each corner represents an opinion. One topic we discussed was participation in the Beijing Olympics in response to human rights issues in China. Students move between corners as they discuss the topic and present their arguments. One corner could represent full participation in the games, another corner represents boycotting only the opening ceremonies, the third corner represents a full boycott of the events. The fourth corner represents an alternative option that any students have. It does not, however, represent no opinion.
The role of Polleverywhere could allow a more stationary activity. The possible benefit here is that students may be more likely to feel comfortable changing their mind if they do not have to physically transition from one part of a room to another to indicate their change. In this case, the teacher would need to periodically clear and reopen the poll to identify any changes. The data and any changes could be used as talking points.
I am not saying one version of the lesson is superior to the other. I am simply offering it as an option. Try it out. Let me know how it goes, or if you have any other ideas. You can reach me though my contact me page. I am including an introductory video below.