Formative assessment can be drudgery. When students are doing the same quizzes and the same practice questions all day long, it can be less than stimulating.
Or formative assessment can be fantastic.
Teachers use formative assessments to get the pulse of the class, to see how students are progressing. When used correctly, formative assessments let teachers make quick changes to their plans to meet students where they are.
Plenty of digital tools exist to help teachers mix things up. Don’t think of formative assessment as worksheets and quizzes. Students can draw, choose, write or say to show what they know.
Need some ideas? Below, you’ll find three tools to help with formative assessment in each of those four categories — draw, choose, write and say.
When you’re done reading, please add your favorite formative assessment tools in a comment at the end of the post!
Formative (goformative.com) — Formative lets teachers ask a question (or questions) to students through the students’ devices. When students answer, their answers immediately appear in the teacher dashboard. Teachers can then assign a grade or (coming soon!) add a comment that students see immediately. Question types include fill in the blank, multiple choice or (my favorite!) “show your work” where students draw the answer.
Paper by FiftyThree (fiftythree.com/paper) — Paper is a sketching app. It gives you (or a student) a blank piece of paper and plenty of tools to turn it into a work of art (or a place to jot down ideas). Tools include a fountain pen, watercolor paintbrush, fine point/wide point Sharpie pen and pencil. Create flowcharts or organize with “smart shapes” you can move around. Available for iPad and iPhone.
Google Drawings (drive.google.com) — Google Drawings lets students add elements to a blank canvas, including text, images, shapes and lines. It’s a very simple Google App, but the options for its use are endless. Some ideas include interactive posters (see how in this blog post) or graphic organizers (see 15+ free graphic organizers here).
Kahoot! (getkahoot.com) — Kahoot! turns your classroom into a game show. Create your own questions or choose from millions of publicly available Kahoot! games. Students see questions on the screen and select the correct answer on their own devices. Track who has the most points with a leaderboard after each question. Fun music and flashy graphics make this one a crowd pleaser!
Plickers (plickers.com) — Don’t have devices for every student? No problem. Get instant info on what your students know with Plickers. Students hold up cards that represent the answer they choose (A, B, C or D). The teacher scans the room with his/her phone/tablet camera in the Plickers app. Plickers summarizes student answers and provides quick results.
Quizlet (quizlet.com) — Quizlet is online flashcards with a twist. Teachers (or students!) can create their own cards by typing terms and definitions. From there, students can take simple quizzes, flip through their flashcards and even play games. Space Race and Scatter are student favorites! Plus, their flashcards can be accessed on their phones. With your terms in a device that’s constantly attached to their hip, how can you lose?
Quick blog with Google Slides (drive.google.com) — Make writing assignments more collaborative with this quick blog. Students don’t have Google accounts? No problem! Create a Slides presentation and set sharing to “everyone with the link can edit”. Create a slide for every student … this will be their writing space. Students write and then write comments on each other’s writing, much like a blog (or — gasp! — social media!).
TodaysMeet (todaysmeet.com) — Brevity is a virtuous quality in writing. TodaysMeet is a messaging site (think of a chat room that’s created only for your class). Students can write answers, questions, sentences — even links to other sites — in your TodaysMeet room. They’ll have to keep their answers short, though — there’s a 140-character limit! (If they don’t keep it short, they can always submit multiple messages to make one longer message.)
MakeBeliefsComix (makebeliefscomix.com) — Comic strips can make writing fun even for the most reluctant writer. MakeBeliefsComix lets students create comic strips with original artwork. Each character has multiple poses so you can pick the perfect one for the situation in the strip. Add speech and thought bubbles, props, backgrounds and more. Then email or print the strips!
AudioBoom (audioboom.com) — AudioBoom gives students a voice in class — and a way to share that voice. Students can record audio directly from the site (or using the iOS or Android app). Once uploaded to the site, each recording is saved in student accounts and is given a unique URL. Students can share that URL with the teacher, on a class website, in an e-portfolio or with friends or family. It’s a perfect option for audio podcasts, song parodies or more!
Garage Band (on the iOS App Store) — Go farther than recording audio. Add some music! Garage Band lets students play a multitude of different virtual instruments and record them all together in a digital jam session! Save student creations and host a student-produced symphony during class!
Google Voice (google.com/voice) — Don’t have devices? No problem! Google Voice makes recording audio easy and only requires a phone. Google Voice is like digital voicemail. When you create a Voice account, you choose a phone number (for free!). Students can call that phone number with their phones (or your classroom phone) and leave a voice message. Put a twist on short essays by letting students call their answers in instead of writing them!
[reminder]What are your favorite formative assessment tools? Are there any that didn’t make this post?[/reminder]
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