Series First Days of School: It's Always Awkward in the Beginning: Give Some Snaps!

Give Some Snaps!

Lesson Objective: Show appreciation for peers' contributions
All Grades / All Subjects / Participation


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How is snapping different than clapping?
  2. How does the snapping evolve over time?
  3. How could you adapt this strategy for use in your class?


Private message to Michael Burnett
  1. How is snapping different than clapping?
    Snapping doesn't carry the weight or volume of clapping.
  2. How does the snapping evolve over time?
    Snapping is gradually a strategy that is bought into by the class.  She is creating a culture of acceptance which students gradually start to do.  Over time, more students buy into the technique.
  3. How could you adapt this strategy for use in your class?
    I'm always looking for ways of giving positive feedback that do not interupt the flow of a class.  Snapping might be something to use.
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Private message to Cade Patterson

Snapping is a very interesting and cool technique to get student involvement as well as student feedback. It is also a way that doesn’t interrupt the classroom or overly obnoxious such as clapping and cheering. The thing that I like about snapping, is that it also encourages the student who answered correctly or had a great idea from their peers and teacher. This is a great Idea to try within the classroom.

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Private message to Diane Nelson

Snapping catches students' attention because it is unexpected and unusual. Helps to set the pace of a lesson.

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Private message to Mary Bartz

I agree at first the students probably think your crazy but then they catch on and like it themselves. Great idea for catching attention and setting the pace as well.

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Private message to Garett Mudd

1. Snapping is much more reserved and quieter than clapping yet still is loud enough to get attention without disturbing the thoughts of others. 

2. There may be awkward moments at first but when the students have passed that stage of new they tend to do it on their own. It becomes second nature to the students to where they do it themselves.

3. I could use this as a way to gather attention of the students to me and let them know I have something to say. Eventually I can do it and they will repeat it so that they others will see I've got something to say to the class. Especially in the special education group I have. 

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Private message to Sarah Brown Wessling

Hi Garett!

I'm so glad the snaps feel like they would work in your classroom too. I hope you share and let us know how it goes!


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Private message to Marjorie Arnold

Thanks for the reminder about pushing through awkwardness, along with the accompanying video. I realize that I don't push throuh it long enough, so kids don't buy in. I'll try, try again!

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Private message to sheryl king

I used snapping in a high poverty school I worked in and where I had built strong relationships with my students. I told them we were going to do something that cool people in the 50's would do....shared some of the stories and expressed that we could be really cool and use something to show appreciation that was different than all the other classes in our large (2000 student) high school in southern Wisconsin. It was a hit - maybe I should try it again with my fashion or foods classes...could be a fun upbeat thing to are always looking for ways to be cool and do things differently. I'm no longer in that wonderful school, but I always connect with my students in a way that encourages, why not?

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  • Transcript

    Speaker 1:            If you show everything at once, then it...

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    Speaker 1:            If you show everything at once, then it...

    Speaker 2:            One way that I get my students to affirm the thinking and the risk-taking and the idea making of each other is to snap.

                                        Cool, we're snapping. There we go, okay.

                                        I like the snapping probably because it reminds me of beat poetry, and it makes me think about you know, we snap when there's something interesting. We snap when someone contributes.

                                        Nice, we didn't even talk about that.

                                        But it doesn't carry the weight of the applause of a performance.

                                        Absolutely, thank you.

                                        In the last couple of days, I've really noticed that the snapping has changed. So I remember on the first day, and this always happens, right? When I start to do it they look at me, and they kind of look at each other.

                                        So, I'm snapping, I like that.

                                        I can tell they're thinking, am I really gonna do this?

                                        There we go.

                                        Is she gonna really do this? Yeah. And the thing as a teacher is when you want to create a ritual or a habit, you have to persevere past the awkward moment.

                                        When I hear stuff I like, I snap. And it's cool if you snap too, so you should practice. Yeah, okay, there we go.

                                        So, those awkward moments are going to happen every single time you want to create any kind of cultural aspect to your teaching and to the classroom.

                                        I like it, we're snapping. You got it. Oh my gosh.

                                        You get more snaps.

                                        You're like the lead snapper, I can tell.

                                        So, I just have to keep snapping, even though they look at me funny, until somebody kind of starts doing it, and then somebody else kind of does it, so you would notice the first day, it looks really different than the second day, that looks really different than even just the third day, where students are doing it even without me having to prompt them.

                                        Anybody else?


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School Details

Johnston Senior High School
6501 Northwest 62nd Avenue
Johnston IA 50131
Population: 1548

Data Provided By:



Sarah Brown Wessling
English Language Arts / 10 11 12 / Teacher

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