Saturday, June 29, 2013

What's So Great About SMART Response?

Do you use SMART Response in your classroom?  If you have, then your are familiar with the Senteo interactive response system.  Today they're called SMART Response interactive response system.  That's a mouthful to say!  I usually just call them Responders but they're also referred to as "clickers".  SMART Response requires the use of Responders.  If you are not familiar with the Responders, the closest thing I can compare it to is the hand held devices the audience used in the show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?   When the audience was polled by the contestant, they responded to a multiple choice question and their answers were displayed for the "hopeful millionaire" to view. 

Schools that have SMART boards will often purchase at least one class set of Responders.  There are at least two types of clickers available.  The one used in the lower elementary grades have simple symbols that use shapes and colors such as a triangle or star.  Here is a link to what the LE model looks like.  The child presses on one of the symbols when indicating his/her answer for a multiple choice or yes/no type of question.  The shapes/colors are used instead of having the answer choices as A, B, C, D, or E.  This type of multiple choice format is easy for young children to adapt to.  The educator can tailor a set of questions on any topic with SMART Response.  When creating a multiple choice type of question, the teacher can choose to have up to five possible answers for the students to pick from.  Or she can have as little as two choices for her students to select from.  Additionally, there is an option to create an opinion question.  This gives the children exposure to the idea that a question does not necessarily have a "right" or "wrong" answer.

The teacher can also choose to use pictures/images in place of text for her answers.  This is helpful when using the Responders with young children who are not yet skilled at reading.  It's also a great way to get the children started with using the Responders.  To do this, leave the text blank instead of typing answer choices.  Then select one of the symbols/letter choices to be the correct answer.  When the question and shapes/colors display on the slide, insert pictures/images beside each symbol (triangle, star, etc. . .) with the correct picture answer matching the symbol/letter that you indicated as such.

So what's so great about SMART Response? 

1.  It ACTIVELY engages all the students.  Instead of having just one child answer the question orally while the others students are passively engaged in listening and watching what the chosen child does, all students are now assigned the role of answering the questions.  (Isn't that what they did in Who Wants to be a Millionaire?  That is, they engaged the audience as a whole instead of just a few selected members.)

2.  Students receive IMMEDIATE feedback.  Let's face it, we all like getting feedback.  Students are no different.  And whether they get the answer right or wrong, it becomes a learning tool for them when they know how they're doing.  When the teacher stops the question, the Responders tell the children whether or not their answer was correct before advancing to the next question.

3.  It's an ASSESSMENT TOOL for the educator.  Since each Responder is assigned its own number, the educator can assign a unique Responder to every student in the classroom.  Once she stops a question, it tells her the responses from every child in the class.  Not only does she know who got the answer wrong, she also knows which wrong answer was selected.  This permits her to determine the next action with regard to assisting the child with the concepts.   The teacher can collect and save the data in an instant. She could also create a paper & pen checklist to record data as the students answer the questions.  The third option is to simply make informal observations about the children's responses to the questions.

If you're not sure how to get started with SMART Responders, you might ask your school's technology team for assistance.

Three important tips about using SMART Response:

1.   Sometimes a child will put pressure on more than one button on the Responder.  The Responder will pick up on what was pressed first.  This may not be what the child intended to pick.  It's a good idea to remind your students to press their finger directly on top of the button they're choosing.  Caution them to avoid touching multiple buttons.

2.  Remember to START a question . . . and STOP each question.  Start the question before students respond . . . you might need to tell them to wait.  Stop the question when your students are finished responding.

3.  If you are planning to use the Responders as an assessment tool, you will need to explain to children not to share their answers with others.  Otherwise, they will assume that is a collaborative event and will begin to view their neighbor's responses.

Are you ready to try SMART Response?  A have a free file for you to practice with.  The photos below show most of the slides in the SMART Response file I created.  Please let me know if you use this file and how it words for you. 

All graphics and frames are from My Cute Graphics created by Laura Strickland.  She was so kind and gave me permission to use her graphics for this project.  Visit her website at

You will need the SMART Notebook 11 software as well as SMART Response.  A lower version of SMART Notebook will be incompatible with this file.  To get this file, Click on the words, SMART Notebook July 2013 Calendar Activities with SMART Response Questions.

In this slide, I created three possible answers for the students to choose from.  I also added an image of the calendar so students and teachers could use it as a reference tool. I animated the arrow so that is appears when you enter the slide.

In this slide I used four possible answers.  For first grade, it's best to use no more than four selections.  With Kindergarten students, start with two selections.

For most of my slides I chose to write the statement on the first line and the question on the next line.
The text in the question section can be modified after it's imported into the slide.

You have my permission to remove the arrows or change the background color to suit your classroom and individual needs.
I used the shape tool to create rectangles around the "tents".  Then I used the fill color and made it semi-transparent to draw attention to those dates on the calendar.
I used images instead of text for the answer choices on this slide.  This slide also shows just 2 answer choices which is a good number to start with when using Responders with children at the kindergarten level.

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.


  1. Can these be use with a promethean board?

  2. Hi Markisha,

    I am not familiar with promethean boards. You must have SMART Notebook 11 software installed on the computer that you plan to use for this file to work. Additionally, you need the SMART Response software. Many times that software is included with the SMART Notebook 11. But even if you have the proper software, I don't know that it will work on your promethean board. Thank you for the question.

    Zoom Zoom Classroom

  3. This is a great post! Just found your blog through 3rd Grade Theatrics! Now following!

    1. Cheryl,

      I'm glad you liked the post. Thank you for sharing with me how you found my blog. I'm always intrigued by that.