Friday, January 17, 2014

Formative Assessment FRIDAY

Whew!  It has been a whirlwind of a week!  Between actually finding time to teach and administering a practice state assessment, I am exhausted.  Oh, and did I mention that I will be staying at school until midnight with 70 third graders tonight?  More on that subject at the end of this post...

 Commit and Toss

This week's formative assessment strategy is Commit and Toss.  This is an awesome strategy to make students' thinking visible to the entire class.  The assessment process is anonymous so students are very comfortable sharing their answers and evaluating their classmates answers.

First, give students an assessment probe.  I like to use probes where they have to agree or disagree with a prompt, and explain why :)  These types of questions lead to VERY meaningful discussions.  So, students read the prompt and solve the assessment probes independently.  Make sure that your kiddos DO NOT write their names on the papers (so answers will be anonymous).

After completing the assessment probe, students will crumble up their papers into a ball (but not too tight because then the writing gets hard to read).  At your signal, students will toss their paper balls into the middle of the room.  I tell mine to aim for the large rug, and I think giving them a target is for the best :)
Student evaluation is a very big component in common core as well as in the COMPASS teacher evaluation system that my school adopted.  This assessment probe is an excellent way to wrap up your lessons while including students evaluating one another.

Next, I call a student up to select a paper ball from the rug.  The student reads the prompt, again, and reads the answer that was written on the paper they chose.  Here is my favorite part: Students now evaluate the answer they just read aloud.  They can say if they agree or disagree with the answer, if they think the answer was unclear or if they would like to add any additional information to the answer and why.
Teachers...students LOVE this "game".  They really get into the critiques and love when their questions get chosen.  I usually call up about 3-5 students to come up, choose a paper ball, read and evaluate the solutions.  This activity helps students see that "wrong" answers can provide additional learning opportunities and that each answer allows a chance for them to construct new ideas.  I love watching my students connect with classmates by relating to each others' thinking and by comparing their own ideas.

 If you want an overall picture of how your kiddos are thinking, this is the strategy for you.  Try it out!  If you a third or fourth grade teacher, try the Commit and Toss prompt my class completed this week.  Click the picture below to grab yours :)

Now as for tonight, myself and five other teachers are trying to pay our way to some national conferences.  To raise money, we are hosting an after school "Dinosnores: A Night at the Museum".  Students will participate in workshops on geology, paleontology, and Egyptology.  I'm excited but exhausted already.  Come on midnight!

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! We do this as well and I tell students to turn their paper into a "snowball."

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