Participation with Playing Cards
Lesson Objective: Improve participation and class management with playing cards
All Grades / All Subjects / Participation

Thought starters

  1. What is required of the student if he or she cannot answer the question?
  2. How can this idea shape class culture and take away the fear of not knowing the answer?
  3. How might you use Mr. McCloud's unique way of holding students accountable for participating in positive ways?
Great idea! It gives a chance for participation to be random which in returns make sure that everyone is on task.
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I use Old Maid cards, minus the Old Maid. They are in pairs already and have funny names.
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Great idea. I would shuffle periodically in front of the class and/or let a student draw a card from the stack so that it is totally random. Thanks for sharing.
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This is perfect as a classroom agreement. I like how you explained that students don't have to know the answer, but they will need to explain where they are stuck! This really establishes a rhythm to students speaking up about where they struggle.
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I think this is a great way to call on students without making a student feel singled out. I also think it is a great strategy to have students say where they are stuck rather than just saying "I don't know".
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  • 00:56: CHRIS MCCLOUD: Incorporating kids into the class who aren’t participating is, like, the number one thing. One of the first

    00:56: CHRIS MCCLOUD: Incorporating kids into the class who aren’t participating is, like, the number one thing. One of the first things I think about when I’m planning a lesson. In my classroom, each seat has a playing card in front of it, taped to the desk in front of it. And I have those same exact cards in my hand up at the front.
    01:15: CHRIS MCCLOUD [in class]: Your circumference and area calculation, this will be four of diamonds. Let’s go, Mr. Abulian [sp?].
    01:22: CHRIS MCCLOUD: It’s okay if a student has their card called, and they don’t quite know the answer. They just can’t say, “I don’t know.” So they have to tell us where they’re stuck, and then we can get someone to help out if they need it. The reason I use playing cards, instead of just randomly say, “Jake! Answer the question” – that seems like I’m out to get them, like it’s a gotcha-moment. We all remember that, like, being called on and not knowing the answer, it’s one of the worst feelings.

School Details

School Of The Future High School
127 East 22nd Street
New York NY 10010
Population: 752

Data Provided By:



Chris McCloud
Math / 7 / Teacher


Teaching Practice

Project-based Learning, PBL, Projects, Engagement

Teaching Practice

All Grades/ All Subjects/ Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement