Response Cards

  • Situation

    I am a Learning Support Teacher, and when I observe my kids in the general education class, they don’t seem to participate at all. While other kids raise their hands often, my students tend to just sit there doodling or daydreaming. How can I get the regular education teachers to engage them more?

  • Summary

    Student engagement is critical and can be a challenge for many teachers, but for kids with disabilities who may be worried about answering incorrectly, it often takes some extra effort to increase their participation. An easy and effective classroom practice to increase student responding is through the use of RESPONSE CARDS. Research shows that when students are actively engaged in lesson content, they learn more. One way to achieve this is through the use of RESPONSE CARDS.

  • Definition

    Response Cards can take several forms but quite simply, they are cards or dry erase boards that students can hold up to answer a question or give an opinion in lieu of verbal responding. When they do this simultaneously, the teacher can then quickly scan class responses, provide feedback, and modify instruction as needed based upon the responses. Response cards can vary in form i.e laminated piece of cardstock with YES or AGREE on one side and NO or DISAGREE on the other, laminated construction paper that is RED on one side and GREEN on the other, or laminated cardstock that has OK on one side and a ? on the other side to let teacher know if they understand the concept or need more explanation.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    Students must be taught the purpose and use of the RESPONSE CARD strategy. Teachers must collect/purchase the materials to make the cards ahead of time.

  • Process

    1. Determine how you would like to incorporate the use of RESPONSE CARDS into your day. You may want to start small and create a simple card that can be used for one particular lesson.

    2. Make the cards, one for each student. (or purchase if using dry erase boards).

    3. Plan a time to teach the strategy to your students. Model the use of the cards and have your students practice in a “mock” lesson.

    4. Be sure to explain that the use of the cards is to help you adjust your teaching to make sure that they are learning!

    5. Although some students may peek at others’ responses, you want to create a climate where students feel comfortable sharing their responses. Encourage the kids to keep cards facing towards you and to refrain from looking at other cards or commenting on what other kids have responded.

    6. Ask for feedback from your students as to how they think this strategy will work for them.

    7. Be careful not to OVERUSE the strategy!

  • Documents and Related Resources

    This resource was authored by Watson Institute Special Education Consultant, Lisa Plastino, M.Ed.

    If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.