Review by Ashley Kemper, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2016
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Stick Pick

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Differentiate, engage with assessment app aimed at higher-order skills

Subjects & skills

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Teachers say (5 Reviews)

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Pros: Varying levels of questioning and question starters help teachers differentiate the question-asking process.

Cons: Teachers can only select one level of questioning per student.

Bottom Line: Useful reinvention of a classic means of encouraging student attention with the added bonus of support for higher-order thinking and response tracking.

Instead of keeping track of your own metal can and set of popsicle sticks for each class, you can organize the sticks for multiple classes digitally. In addition to keeping track of sticks, you can also keep track of students. Measuring classroom participation can be tricky, but teachers can quickly see how well students pay attention in class and track their performance. The number of correct answers or points students earn may be averaged into an overall classroom-participation score or included as part of a student's grade.

Teachers can also use the sticks to see how well students answer questions that focus on a specific level of thinking or differentiate the question-asking process to meet students' individual needs.

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Stick Pick is a classroom-management and -assessment app that takes the popsicle-stick-in-a-can concept digital and expands it to help teachers improve the way they ask questions in the classroom. While teachers can use it to simply add student names to a collection of sticks, they can also do a lot more. Student rosters can be easily uploaded from a CSV file and sync across devices. For each student, teachers can choose the mode/level of questioning. Modes include Bloom's Taxonomy, the revised Bloom's Taxonomy, and ESL skills and appropriate levels within them. So, Student 1 may always receive questions at the understanding level of Bloom's, while Student 2 may receive questions at the analysis level of Bloom's. In an ESL classroom, one student may receive questions at the beginning level, while another may receive questions at the intermediate or early advanced level. 

The meat of the app comes not in setting up the class and student levels; instead, there are learning opportunities baked into the question-asking process itself. When a student's stick is randomly chosen, teachers see a selection of question stems related to the specific mode or level chosen. Teachers can also assess how well a student answers the question, marking an answer as correct, incorrect, or opinion and rating the response using a rubric. Teachers can then track how many questions students answer correctly and the scores they received for those answers. Comprehensive class scores can be shared as PDF or CSV files via AirDrop, iMessage, email, and print.

When students know they might be called on, they're more likely to pay attention in class. Not only will Stick Pick help improve student engagement, it will ensure the questions teachers ask actually promote learning. By asking questions based on specific modes and levels, teachers can make the content accessible to students at various levels, encouraging advanced learners to go further by asking them questions that involve higher-order thinking skills and building the confidence of lower-level learners by asking questions they can answer. It would be nice, however, to be able to add multiple levels and modes of questions for each student.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Keeps kids' attention because their name can be called at any moment, and teachers can share the resulting data to help kids focus more in class.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

In addition to selecting student names randomly, Stick Pick suggests question starters based on Bloom's Taxonomy and other thinking models to fit kids' preselected needs.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Stick Pick tracks how often kids correctly answer questions. It offers help setting up and multiple ways to customize the can of sticks.

Common Sense Reviewer
Ashley Kemper STEM Project Manager

Teacher Reviews

(See all 5 reviews) (5 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Buzz G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Stick Pick lets me collect formative assessment data easily. Also, it's great for my English language learners . I can ask them appropriate questions.
Before Stick Pick, I'd lose a lot of great moments and formative assessment data with students because it wasn't convenient to track it. Now, I can quickly rate students' responses and see how each student performed over time. Disclaimer: I created this app in 2011 and I still use it every day.
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