No Hands Up Questioning Techniques for the Classroom

No Hands Up Questioning Techniques for the Classroom

Are you trying to implement ‘no hands up’ in your classroom? As part of our formative assessment focus, my school encourages teachers to embed 'no hands up' into their classroom practice. 

There are lots of positives to no hands up. It increases engagement because students expect to be called upon at any time, so they know that they need to be paying attention. It also shifts the focus off the same kids who are always keen to share an answer, and gives you more of an idea of how ALL of your kids are understanding a concept.

It is important to provide students with scaffolds which they can use when they don't know an answer. This helps to reduce anxiety and also provides alternatives to "I don't know". I display these question prompts with visuals to support students who can't read the prompts. We review these questions before every 'no hands up' session so hopefully these scaffolds become ingrained and second nature. 

These questions or scaffolds could include:

  • Can I have a clue?
  • Can I have some time to think?
  • Can you repeat the question?
  • May I ask a friend for help?
  • Can you ask that in a different way?
  • Can I have more information?
  • Where can I find more information?
  • When did we learn that?
  • I’m not sure but my best guess is…

There is still a time and a place for allowing kids to put their hands up, so I tend to implement 'no hands up sessions'. This is communicated to students either with a light switch or simply placing a 'no hands up session' poster on display. 

These posters can be downloaded for FREE from the Freebee Library. Click the image below for the link.