Teaching Fairness

Unfortunately, the only memory I have from being in kindergarten is: I was never called on to be the fairy who got to go around the class and tap on students’ shoulders with a magic wand to wake them up from nap time. I never got to be the fairy!!!

When I was taking classes for my teaching credential, I learned that when students raise their hands in class to answer a question, studies have shown that teachers are more likely to call on a boy than a girl. At that time, I resolved to call on students equally.

When I started teaching, I would use a lot of mental energy trying to remember who I called on as I tried to be fair. I went to a new teacher training where I learned a great idea that  really worked for me: use a deck of cards with the students names on them. There are other ways to do this too (like using popsicle sticks with students names), but the cards worked great!

How it works: take the deck and write a student’s name on each card. After you call on a student, put his or her card at the bottom of the deck or in another pile. This way, everyone eventually gets a turn. You can also rotate calling on students randomly and then using the cards; this way students can still raise their hands to answer every other time.

I had a set of Snoopy cards that the students loved, but there are so many different fun cards–or even just a generic deck of cards. What was really cute was when the students would say, “Use the Snoopy cards so it’s fair!”

I hope this helps. Please share if you have a great way to call on students fairly.