PLAs #3 – Check Point (aka “Fist-to-Five”)

by / Wednesday, 03 June 2020 / Published in Instruction, PLAs

Check Point is a variation on something called “Fist-to-Five”. I’ve removed the fist (zero fingers) but you can always add it in if you like. This is also referred to as a “hinge point” activity. This is a simple check-in activity to give your learners a chance to stop and reflect on their metacognitive state, usually with a simple question like “How are you doing?” Of course, you can vary the type of question you ask, but the main point of the activity is to stop and reflect on one’s own state of mind during a lesson.

This can be done any time in the lesson, but works best at the end, as an exit activity, and might help you approach those learners who hold up only a finger or two, so you an offer specialised coaching or guidance as to what to do.

Best of all, no preparation is needed, and can be used often during a course. It’s a great tool that you use regularly and will help your learners lower their fear of saying they don’t understand something.




Name: Check Point

Activity type: Reflection, very brief.

HOTS: Learners do some affective evaluation.

Grouping: This is for every individual learner.

Online tool: I use Nearpod’s polling feature, but you can just have your online learners hold up any number of fingers with their video on, or even use the chat to type in a number.

This is the Top Ten Participatory Learning Activities (PLAs) Series. Each week, Dr. Larry Davies describes PLAs that are effective to use online. Your use of these PLAs will foster better learning and higher motivation in your learners. Each PLA contains an illustration that contains four elements:

  • The name of the activity.
  • Which one of the four types the activity is (that’s the lightbulb), including,
    • Creative/critical thinking activity (inside the lightbulb, top left – the brain);
    • Small group conversational activity (bottom left – the speech bubbles);
    • Exit activity (given at the end of a lesson, unit, or project) (top right – the exit sign);
    • Timed activity (where learners are under pressure to complete it within minutes) (bottom left – the clock).
  • Whether it’s a Higher or Lower Order Thinking Skills Activity (HOTS or LOTS) (the HOTS/LOTS lever with “the pail”).
  • A suggested grouping to maximize the benefit of the activity (the circles arranged in many ways).

Also, the description will contain suggestions for one or more online tools you can use with the PLA.

Previous blogs in this series include:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.