When Suzie Boss skyped in to chat with us for #plsm13 last month, I just knew that she would share with us some stunning but practical ideas for project-learning. If you’ve read Lee’s overview of the event, you’ll know that she didn’t disappoint. Two things that really stuck with me from her time with us, was the idea of ‘sticky learning’ (this is the learning that stays with students, that they can easily bring to mind, the real stuff, the deep learning) and also the challenge to be as creative with formative assessment strategies as we can.
As you can tell from the title of this blog post, it’s the latter idea that I want to focus on. Formative assessment is such a wanky expression, cos really all it means is learning. That’s all. It just means checking in to see what students are learning, what they’re struggling with and how we can address any gaps or misconceptions we can identify. It is the ‘identifying’ that is the crux of formative assessment. Really, it is true assessment for learning. But as Suzie identified, there are a range of ways that we can ‘check-in’ with our students … there are the usual ways of getting students to do a quiz, answer a question or two in a discussion or write a brief reflection on learning in a learning journal. These are great but can become monotonous for students and for teachers. Variety forces people to think in new ways and fall out of over-used patterns of thought. Suzie told us about a cool idea from one of the workshops she’s run: a teacher said she created a ‘project confession booth’ where students could access a camera and ‘confess’ issues they are having with the project/team-mates. I think this is such a cool idea. Suzie challenged us to come up with as many formative assessment ideas as we can think of … but we didn’t get to the activity at #plsm13.
I was hoping you might be able to help me complete the challenge. I’m writing a project that my colleagues will be teaching as well and I am hoping to incorporate a variety of formative assessment tools for them to use with their students. Below are a few formative assessment tools that I have used before:
– edmodo quiz
– learning journals (goals/medals/missions protocol)
– 30 second wrap-up (randomly select a student to give a summary of group’s goals and achievements for that lesson)
– starbursting: students draw a star and write who/what/when/where/why and list all they know about the project focus (topic or product) under those headings
– KWL table
I am literally so brain dead at the moment that I can’t think of anything else that I use. Maybe I don’t use anything else … how bad is that? Please share your methods of ‘checking in’ on your students’ progress/learning by adding a comment below and I will add them to this list. Cheers!