Any other teachers amazed at how motivated students are by stickers? Stickers are classic – I remember getting stickers in piano lessons every time I learned a new song – but they can get messy and hard to manage.
Stamps are the cheaper and more sustainable form of stickers. I know many teachers who carry around rubber stamps and an ink pad. I started off with self-inking stamps myself, but as those got worn and lost, I bought these stamper markers as a cheap and versatile replacement.
Note: I teach high school, grades 9-12. Stamps are still appropriate! The strategies I’m sharing today are what I use in my high school classroom.
How I use stamps for in-class practice
One way that I use them is for checking progress on in-class practice. On a practice worksheet, I stamp off every correct question (or sometimes, every correct section of questions). It’s faster than me having one-on-one conversations or even carrying around a pen or highlighter to initial. Plus, winky-faces and paw prints are way more interesting than a checkmark.
Even when I provide the answer key along with the practice sheet, students still ask for the stamps to affirm their correct answers. It’s fun for them to look at their worksheet full of stamps!
When I ask students to turn in their assignment at the end of class, or to complete it for homework and turn it in the next day, I have a great starting point for checking over their work. I just look at the problems that are missing stamps.
How I use stamps on warm-ups
On really short practice sheets, I have a slightly different protocol with the stampers. When I taught Geometry, I almost always had half-sheet warm-ups to review the previous day’s material. As students completed questions on the warm-up, I stamped off on correct answers. As soon as a student earned all correct answers, s/he got a few stamper markers and walked around to stamp off on other students’ correct answers. As more students finished their entire warm-up with correct answers, more and more students became stampers, until every student had a complete and correct warm-up and all my stamper markers were passed out.
Stamps are great, but…
Sometimes, stamping for the correct answer made students try to get the right answer without actually understanding it. However, I actually observed good collaboration between students as a stamper would help out someone who wasn’t finished yet. Also, passing off the job of checking answers freed me to help students who were struggling.
Was this the best, most detailed feedback? No. But in a classroom where I’m trying to touch base with 32 students in 5 minutes, it worked. The stamper marker allowed me to be my students’ compiler – a quick check for “Is there an error or not?” – and I think for some everyday practice, this can be what students need.
Feedback Strategy – Stamp As You Go
Summary: Stamp off on students’ correct answers as they work on in-class practice. For short activities, students with 100% correct answers use their sheet as an answer key to stamp off on others’ papers.
Best Use: Ungraded in-class practice with right/wrong answers
- Feedback is very fast.
- Stamps are more fun than initials or checkmarks.
- Stamping is easy to implement while moving around the classroom.
- Students get up and moving while helping each other out.
- Feedback is not very informative for the student.
- Students may be encouraged to pursue correct answers without deeper understanding.
How do you use stamps or stickers in the classroom? Do you use a similar strategy to check off on students’ correct work? How else are you able to provide fast feedback to your students?
Keep us in the F(eedback)loop!