Coaches Corner

Interesting facts and finds from the world of education...

Riding a bike...

Do you remember learning how to ride a bike?

For starters you have to learn how to balance your weight over the bike. (Training wheels anyone?) After that, you have to learn how to manage keeping your balance, pedaling and going in a straight line - all without falling down. It takes lots of practice and do-overs. I can remember learning how to ride my bike very vividly. Perhaps because my dad forgot to check with me to be sure I knew how to use the brakes - resulting in me running into a parked car on our street. Oh. Yes. He was standing there, making sure I was successful, he just forgot that one little detail. Oops!

Teaching content to our kids is really similar to that process. We give them the information in pieces and then hope they put it all together successfully in the end. What if we knew ahead of time what they were missing? What if we knew who still didn't get it, who already got it, and who was almost there during our lesson? What if we didn't wait until the end to know those things? Checking for understanding during our instruction might help avoid the crash in the end.

This is where formative assessment comes in. It lets us know how we are doing. As a matter of fact, formative assessment is at the top of the list for change and quality teaching. (Dylan William: Leadership for Teacher Learning) You already know about it and most likely you already formally assess on a regular basis. Which is great! We know that formative assessment is a powerful tool for informing our instruction. With an effect size of 0.4-0.7, (and some reports going as high as 0.9) it clearly is a necessary part of getting kids where we want them to be. Plus, these quick assessments can be really fun!

If you haven't been inspired lately, this article by Edutopia does a great job of explaining the why and what of formative assessment. I also like this article on Using Formative Assessment as Your Classroom Fitbit. Pretty cool way to think about it!

Checking for understanding can be as quick as a thumbs up, thumbs down or as techy as Plickers and Kahoot. The main thing is that we are finding out what kids know before we move on and it helps students own their learning. Frequently! I am including a bunch of great websites to check out for getting your assessment on. :) Most of these ideas can be used for all subjects so check them all out - you might something just right!

1. (60) Tools for Formative Assessment - - Techniques to Check for Understanding - - Processing Activities Compiled by K Lambert, OCPS Curriculum Services, 4/2012

2. Pinterest. Need I say more...

3. 10 Assessments You Can Perform in 90 Seconds by Teach Thought.

4. 5 Fantastic, Fast, Formative Assessment Tools by Vicki Davis. Lots of technology ideas in here.

5. 5 Formative Assessment Activities for the Classroom by Suzanne Klein - ASCD

6. Using formative assessment in the flipped classroom. by Jon Bergmann. Great article and a few videos to see how it's done. Good stuff!

7. 10 Fun-Filled Formative Assessment Ideas by Hillary Hill. Lots of good ELA ideas!

8. Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding by Todd Finley. Nice article along with 53 ways to check their learning.

Be sure to add your favorites in the comments. Would love to hear how you informally assess your students!

Something to think about...

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Check this out...

This link has 20 cool ways to check your students understanding using technooologyyyyy. Nearpod, Socrative, and Edulastic to name a few. Price for the app and teacher rating included!

Here is another good one! Great for student engagement as well.

This SMORE is fantastic with tons of ways to assess using technology. There are a few in here I hadn't seen before and they are really cool!

Video Inspiration!