TPT Hold-Ups and the Active Learners

As teachers, we all want our students to be both physically and mentally involved with what is being taught in class. Hence, we try to create activities that will require our students’ involvement. The TPT (Total Participation Technique) Hold-Ups can be another bag of tricks for you.

Hold-Ups are interaction-based activities that use response cards. These activities will allow students to interactively reflect on a prompt and hold up a card, paper, or whiteboard in response. Studies suggest that response cards are useful for improving participation and on-task behaviour. And since students are more present and engaged during the classes when response cards are used, achievement on quizzes and tests improve, at the same time disruptive behaviours decrease.

TPT hold up

These are the Hold-Ups that you can use in class:

  1. Selected-Response Hold-Ups
  2. Number Card Hold-Ups
  3. True/Not True Hold-Ups
  4. Multiple-Choice Hold-Ups
  5. Whiteboard Hold-Ups

This set of TPTs requires a bit a preparation since the teachers need to prepare the response cards to be used. However, fear not! You can laminate those response cards so that they can become reusable.

Each Hold-Up works in the same way. Ask the students to think about and discuss responses to a set of prepared prompts or question. Before the students hold up their cards, they must pair-share or confer in small groups first. They need to share their responses to others. Remind students that they should not hold up their cards yet. Once enough time has been given to the students to discuss their answers, a minute or two will do depending on the types of questions, say “Hold it up.” This time, the students hold up their cards. You can call selected students to share their group’s rationale for their choice.

To ensure that higher order thinking, teachers must use wrong answers as teachable moments. You must be ready to give quick feedback to students who hold up wrong answers. Through this simple TPT Hold-Ups, teachers will be able to get immediate feedback on how well the students understand the concepts learned. Remediation and reteaching can be done on concepts that most students are unable to comprehend fully.

Reading different classroom strategies is futile if there’s no application of the theories. Think of your next lessons, why not try applying these diverse TPTs (Total Participation Techniques)? Students seem to love Hold-Ups because they might somewhat feel that the activity is like a game. Students enjoy forming huddles in small groups, holding up their cards, and defending their choices. TPT Hold-Ups guarantee that students will be more engaged and involved during the learning process.


TFT will also host its first ever Professional Development Workshop for teachers.  As we will be opening a tutorial center, it will be held there. The name of the tutorial center is Bruner Learning Hub located in Maly, San Mateo.

There will be two sessions for it:

1st part, August 5, Saturday:
We’ll introduce the need for TPTS and then learn about total participation techniques (TPT), in particular, On-the-spot TPTs and TPT holds up.
2nd part, August 19, Saturday:
We’ll learn TPTs that involve movement and how we can use TPTs for notetaking and concept analysis.

If you’re interested, please fill in your details in this google form. We will email you with more details and how to reserve your slot. Thank you for interest and support! 🙂

Don’t delay as the early bird promo only applies this month!

Argee Abadines
Argee Abadines is the founder and chief content engineer of this website. He is a brain based educator and his educational interests are pedagogy, higher order thinking, creativity, and educational technology. He is also the founder of Bruner Learning Hub. He currently teaches high school business studies and economics. Previously, he taught English to primary students. He reads up regularly about trends in education and online media. You can visit his personal blog at

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