Classroom Techniques: Formative Assessment Idea Number Ten

Classroom Techniques:  Formative Assessment Idea Number TenWe’ve reached ten… Ten formative assessment strategies and ideas that you can use in your classroom to elicit evidence of learning and adjust your teaching. Small adjustments, minute-by-minute, based on how students are learning (or not) is why formative assessment is so powerful and effective as a teaching tool. These formative assessment strategies are all inexpensive and easy to implement, and engage the entire class consistently. While no one idea will work for all teachers or all students, we hope there’s one that works for you and your classroom.

So far, our blogs have touched on the following formative assessment ideas:

1. The Popsicle™ Stick
2. The Exit Ticket
3. The Whiteboard
4. Corners
5. Think-Pair-Share
6. Two Stars and a Wish
7. Carrousel Brainstorming
8. Jigsaw
9. ABCD Cards

This next (and last for a while) formative assessment strategy is one called Basketball Discussions – fitting for this time of year. Here, the teacher uses a “basketball-style” approach to student engagement. Why basketball style? Traditional student-teacher engagement is much more Ping-Pong in nature, where a teacher asks a question, a student answers, the teacher may add comment or more questions, the student elaborates; more one-on-one from student to student.

With Basketball Discussions, the conversation moves from teacher to student to student to student and so on. Students are often more comfortable engaging in a discussion that is not entirely teacher led, and this also engages more students than the usual hand-raisers who dominate discussion. You can also encourage participation – particularly with younger students – by actually tossing a small bean bag or soft ball from student to student as a means of signaling discussion; the one with the ball is the one who is allowed to speak.

We’d love to hear from you on whether you’ve tried any of these formative assessment strategies in your classroom. Drop a comment and tell us which ones you’ve tried and how they worked.