June 1, 2016

Plickers in PE: Using QR Codes For Quick Assessment

If you have not be exposed to the glory that is Plickers, then you are missing out on a PHENOMENAL resource for your classroom. I just learned about them in a professional development seminar prior to this school year, so I haven't implemented them in my PE classroom yet, but I use them daily in my health room!

Plickers are a QR code system that allows each student to answer questions placed on your projector/smart board. The question can be generated online or through your mobile device! Another benefit of Plickers is that it is free to use! Visit Plickers here to sign-up and download your free printable cards.

You can also purchase a set of laminated cards for $20. If you want to download and print the free cards to laminate yourself, you can, but it's important to note you can only use matte finish laminating paper. The traditional laminating sheets will cause the Plickers to malfunction due to the glare off the gloss finish.

Recommendations for creating your Plickers set:

  1. Buying the matte laminated cards is a worthwhile investment. They are sold through Amazon. The only downside to purchasing them through Amazon (recommended from the Plickers site) is that they only sell the standard pack of 40. If you need more than 40 unique cards, buying two sets will not fix this issue.
  2. If you decide to print the cards yourself, I recommend printing on card stock as opposed to traditional computer paper. This will help maintain the integrity of the cards for a longer period of time, especially if you decided not to laminate them yourself.
Getting Setup & Organized:

  1. Build in an organizational tool in your gym. I am a huge fan of pocket charts for this purpose. They're easy to hang and make taking Plickers out and putting them back in a breeze. S&S has a great packet chart here. It's 20"x 24" and features 30 clear and 30 yellow pockets.
  2. At the beginning of the school year, assign each student a number (per class period). When students enter the gym, they grab their card (huge help for attendance to avoid squad lines and down time). Take your phone, scan any leftover cards and instantly know who is not in class today.

    This will also keep students accountable for managing their attendance. If a student forgets to claim their card and is accidentally marked absent, it opens the door for the conversation about accountability and personal responsibility.
  3. Teach students how to use the Plickers. (A) Each Plicker has a number on every corner of the QR code. This is the number I assign to students. (B) Each Plicker then has a unique letter on each side of the QR code (A, B, C, D) (C) You can ask true/false questions with A = true and B= false.

    This prevents them from flipping back and forth for every question. You can see a sample of this below. Now, students can simply look at the back side of the card to know which answer they should be holding up.
  4. Now, you can easily scan the QR codes with your phone to gather formative feedback while teaching in your classroom.
How to Implement in PE

Now comes the tricky part.. How do you keep track of all these cards while in physical education class!? So many of us in phys. ed are hesitant to use Plickers in the gym because it seems like too much of a headache, but in reality Plickers are easy to implement!

You can enter questions ahead of time or enter them real time as you see needs developing in class. You can do this online or on your phone. You'll then need to click on the application on your phone, select the appropriate question, and scan to collect your data.

  1. Teaching a new skill? Great, Plickers can allow you to see who is grasping essential concepts and who still needs more practice.

    For example, let's say you're teaching how to plant your non-dominant foot beside the ball in a soccer unit. You want to see if all of your students understand why that's important instead of calling on a few kids who raise their hands. Propose the following question: True or False - placing your non-dominant foot next to the ball in a soccer kick allows you to direct the ball properly. Students would hold up their Plickers with A for True or B for False and you now know exactly who gets it and who doesn't. Now open up the discussion to help those students who don't understand why!
  2. Formal Formatives? Don't have time for a sit down quiz, but want to see where your students are with rules or concepts of a sport? Read (or display) the question, give the answers and record student responses in no time.
  3. Class Exit Tickets? Great, save paper, incorporate technology, and avoid grading by having exit slip questions plugged into your Plickers account.
  4. Polls and classroom surveys are also possible with Plickers. This is perfect for testing a new game or drill to see how your students respond to it. For these types of questions, it's simple to mark every answer for a question correct or leave one as incorrect (personal preference of the teacher) to see if it's a hit or a flop.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for possibilities with Plickers! There are so many additional resources that you can find through Gopher and SHAPE America. These were just a few tips to help you get started and I would LOVE to hear how you incorporate Plickers into your own classroom!

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