Series: The Power of Collaboration for ELLs

Sticks & Spoons: An Engagement Strategy
Lesson Objective: Teaching Practice
All Grades / All Subjects / ELL

Thought starters

  1. How do the sticks and spoons promote equity of voice?
  2. Why is this strategy especially beneficial for English Language Learners?
  3. How does this strategy encourage student collaboration?

I like this strategy! Instead of having the same students always raising their hands in class, this way different students can be able to participate in activities and will feel better because they will be able to discuss the answer with their teammates before saying the answer. 

Recommended (2)

I definitely second you because I've been using this strategy and students feel safe and also willing to participate. Although they feel nervous, they also know teammates can help them at any time. 

Recommended (0)

Great idea for keeping the students engaged!

Recommended (0)
Great idea! I pair my students using hispanic Countries. Every student receives a card with the flag of a country at the beginning of the school year or semester. Desks have been labelled previously with the flag and as soon as they come to class they sit in their assigned country seat. If students feel to socialise and talking increases the room level of noise, they are changed for the next day. Participation is imperative in the construction of a new language for them.
Recommended (0)
Sticks and spoons is a great idea that gives the students opportunity to engage with their classmates. This also allows students that struggle with the language can be pared with someone that is strong in the language. Since students are not allowed to pass they need to answer. This allows the teacher to evaluate if the student is understanding the material. Great video! Thank you.
Recommended (0)
I love this idea! I really like the concept that the students are expected to know the answer, because any student can be called on at any time. It's an encouraging way to help all students comprehend their answers, while at the same time holding students accountable in a safe environment.
Recommended (0)


  • Sticks & Spoons: An Engagement Strategy Transcript

    Speaker 1: Greeting team number three. One strategy that we use to encourage student

    Sticks & Spoons: An Engagement Strategy Transcript

    Speaker 1: Greeting team number three. One strategy that we use to encourage student voice, student participation and student engagement in our lessons and activities, is we use a strategy called Sticks and Spoons.

    Purple team number two. The students are sitting in teams. Each of those teams is assigned a color and they come up with their own numbers between one and four. In our cup, we have sticks that are labeled with those colors. The spoons are labeled with the numbers. Can we try to get something, some other important facts up there as well? Take a second and think about that.

    One thing with Sticks and Spoons is we always want to make sure that the students have had a chance to talk with their team and feel comfortable with what they're going to share before we pull that stick and spoon.

    Blue team number one. If there are more than four students on that team, we would double up. Sometimes we'll strategically assign the numbers and if we have a very limited English proficient student, we'll maybe pair them up with a student with stronger English, also has the same number so that they can support each other.

    Red team number five. There is a number five spoon in the cup and it means anybody on that team can answer.

    Purple team number two.

    Speaker 2: [inaudible 00:01:23] public schools cause [inaudible 00:01:23] just said school-

    Speaker 3: Oh yeah. There were no public schools before the Civil War.

    Speaker 1: All students are expected to answer. There's no passing involved.

    Let's take maybe two more.

    We find that this really helps students to stay engaged because they can be called at anytime.

    Blue team number four.

    Speaker 4: [inaudible 00:01:43] juniors. [crosstalk 00:01:44]

    Speaker 1: It's also a really safe way of getting students to answer because they are able to talk with their teammates, so teams are encouraged to help each other.

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Population: 750

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