Thanks for checking out our blog! Please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and TeachersPayTeachers!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

App Review: Stick Pick

Stick Pick has become a must have app for my classroom and I believe it can truly help any classroom teacher no matter what age level! I first heard about Stick Pick at an Anita Archer workshop (she's great by the way!) when she was discussing formative assessment for today's classroom. Stick Pick is a teacher tool that has transformed my whole group differentiation and excelled my students' comprehension and academic achievement.  This app beats calling on students using the old 'pull a stick with a name on it from a can' method (although that is essentially what this is but with a whole lot of awesomeness in that can!) Priced at $2.99 it is an app that is definitely worth its weight in popsicle sticks! We feature this app in our formative assessments utilizing iPads classes for educators and here are a few (okay many) reasons why and the basics of Stick Pick:

  • Create as many classes as you want within the app. This is great for tracking progress across multiple academic areas or for teachers who have many classes/small groups that they see in a day. I know of an interventionist who uses this app and loves it!
    • You can use it as just a can with sticks with names on them if you want, or you can have question stems assigned to each student that will appear when you pull their stick.
    • The question stems are categorized into three modes: ESL, Bloom's Revised or Bloom's. 
    We love that we can set what
    type of questions to ask students!
      • You assign each student within those three modes. The breakdown of the modes are:
        • ESL: Beginning, Early Intermediate, Intermediate, Early Advanced, Advanced
        • Bloom's Revised: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, Creating
        • Bloom's: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation

      • When you notice that a student is either struggling or excelling, you can easily go into the student's profile and adjust their question stem level.

      • Once you have all your students entered, you can easily copy an entire class with or without the scores, saving you time on re-entering each student again if you have the same or similar roster. You can also choose if you want to be able to pick a stick by tapping, shaking the device or both and if you want the sound on.  And for all you lefties out there, there is also a left-handed mode! 

      • When you choose your class you will be taken to a screen with all your sticks in a can. From there you can choose to 'peek', allowing you to choose a specific student to assess. Or you can tap/shake your device to let the app randomly choose a stick for you.

      • When a student is chosen (either by you or randomly) a screen appears that shows you their name, the options to assess, reset the stick and mark it as used.  You will also see 10-20 question stems from that student's assigned learning level. We love the options within the question stems and have found them to easily work into whatever content we are discussing.
      Just like when we want our students 
      to pick 'just right work' this app 
      helps us ask 'just right questions'
      • After the student answers you can track if they answered it correct, incorrect or assign them a score of 0-5 on a preset rubric. For Bloom's and Bloom's Revised modes it is a Critical Thinking Rubric. For ESL mode it is a Degree of Elaboration Rubric.
        Critical Thinking Rubric
      • Once you score the student you can either mark it as used so it goes into a different 'used can' or reset the stick to put it back in with the other sticks to be chosen from again. 
        What the main screen looks like
      • The teacher gets to choose what can to pull the stick from, so even if you mark it used you can still access those students' sticks before resetting the entire class. At any time you can reset the class so that all the sticks go back into the main can. 

        • Student's responses and progress is recorded within the app. You can easily go into each student's profile to see their history (super helpful when grading time comes around!) and you can send the information out via email. 
        Being able to see student's past results
        allows us to reflect on student progress

        Whoa! That is a ton of information! It may seem overwhelming to read about, but it really is a simple, easy to use app.  If you are wanting to improve your formative assessments, classroom discussions, and differentiation of instruction this app can help you!

        One of my first ever principal observations suggested that I work on incorporating more higher level thinking questions into my whole group instruction. Working with a group of students that included those who were new to the country with little to no English all the way to gifted and talented students made that goal huge and daunting.  Wish I would've known about this app then, as it really takes all the work out of higher level questioning at the right level for each student! 

        Upper grades can even use this app within their small group work, allowing students to ask each other questions, making their work more on point and productive.  We highly recommend Stick Pick as a top teacher app! Let us know how you are utilizing Stick Pick in your classroom!


        1. Thanks for such a positive review!! I'm glad Stick Pick is helping you differentiate instruction and collect those otherwise elusive formative assessment pieces. Two big features are almost ready for release: 1) the ability to import students from Dropbox; and 2) Sync classes across iOS devices - coming early this Fall!

        2. Thank you for this post! I am new to the blogging world but I really enjoyed reading your page. This app sounds like just the tool I have been looking for to collect data on comprehension and phonics skills with my Kinders. I downloaded the app and see it at a fantastic tool to use for guided reading groups. Recording answers for exit cards and check for understanding will be better organized and not getting shuffled through file folders.

          Thanks for the post and I look forward to continue following your page for more great tools and resources!

          Rebecca DiCicco
          Kindergarten Teacher

        3. Thanks Rebecca for stopping by our page! Welcome to the blogging world-it is a fabulous place for reflection & inspiration! You should send us your blog address, we'd love to check it out!
          And I'm glad you like Stick Pick! It is a fantastic tool that is a must have for me.
          Be sure to follow us on Twitter & check out our individual blogs too! Thanks again for stopping by & leaving a comment!
          Teachernorman.blogspot.com. @teachernorman
          angiekalthoff.blogspot.com. @mrskalthoff

        4. Great post! I used this post and your explanation recently during educational technology PD. I've linked to this page for teachers to see if they missed my PD. (blackboardtalk.com-->tech 4 teachers). Thanks again :)