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Assessments for ALL Learning: We’re All in this Together!. Informal Formative Assessments Alana Button and John Trew. Alana Button—8 th Grade English Language Arts at Bolivar Middle School John Trew —Middle School and High School Band Director at Bolivar R-1. Let’s play a game….

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assessments for all learning we re all in this together

Assessments for ALL Learning: We’re All in this Together!

Informal Formative Assessments

Alana Button and John Trew


Alana Button—8th Grade English Language Arts at Bolivar Middle School

John Trew—Middle School and High School Band Director at Bolivar R-1

let s play a game
Let’s play a game….

Question: How many calories do you burn per hour by banging your head against a wall?

Instructions: Everyone get out of you seat and start circulating.

Whenever I call “FREEZE!” you need to stop and be ready to form a group.

if you think the answer is
If you think the answer is…

50 or less calories: form a group of 2

51-100 calories: form a group of 3

101-150 calories: form a group of 4

151 or more calories: form a group of 5

survey says
…survey says:

150 calories burned per hour by banging your head against the wall

If you were in a group of 4, you were correct!

let s try this again
Let’s try this again!

Here’s your question: On average, how many people are killed each year by a vending machine falling on top of them?


1 to 3 people: form a group of 2

4 to 10 people: form a group of 3

11 to 15 people: form a group of 4

16 or more people: form a group of 5

survey says1
….survey says:

On average, 13 people die each year by a vending machine falling on top of them.

last one i promise
Last one, I promise:
  • Of the following animals, which can sleep for up to three years without eating?
    • Bears (form group of 2)
    • Frogs (form group of 3)
    • Sloth(form group of 4)
    • Snail (form group of 5)
survey says2
…survey says:

A snail can sleep for up to 3 years without eating. If you were in a group of 5, you are correct!

mix freeze group

Directions are on website

Check student learning during a unit

Gets students out of their seat

Must work with others and take on leadership roles

Type of informal formative assessment

informal formative assessments
Informal Formative Assessments
  • What’s the purpose?
    • Quick check of student learning that guides instruction
    • Assessments used during instruction (frequently)
    • Effective way to routinely check if students “get it”
    • Avoid the huge “shock” when grading tests
    • So the purpose: to inform you AND your students
our purpose
OUR purpose

Show the importance and effectiveness of informal formative assessments

Show techniques applicable to core and elective classrooms

Show “classic” versions and technology driven versions

check out our websites
Check out our websites: a flipped classroom approach

classic versions
Classic Versions

Exit/ Admit Slips

Slips of paper that are to be completed quickly. Usually have a thought provoking statement or question.

Completed at the end of class or at the beginning of class

Invite students to reflect on material presented

Can be used in any content area

Templates on website

power writing
Power Writing

Timed (usually 2 or 3 minutes) writing in response to question or reflection

Good to gage prior knowledge (i.e. Write everything you know about photosynthesis)

Non-stop writing; no stopping to think

Can be used in any content area

Also can be used after a lesson

whiteboard draw
Whiteboard Draw

Requires a personal mini-whiteboard and marker for each student

Can be used to quiz, survey, examples, main idea, possible answers, sequencing, etc.

“1, 2, 3, Draw!”

Toward teacher, then “draw” again towards shoulder partner

“Draw” multiple times to see other answers

Can also use white paper, note cards, paper plates, etc.

in 12 word or less
In 12 word or less

Strategy that can be used after a small amount of study

Writing one sentence summing up the main points

Deciding what is important to include

Helps to guide instruction from there

Fill in the gaps

Do you students know the “main idea”?

Can be used in any content area

class vote
Class Vote

To go one step beyond voting, group students and have each group select a speaker to take share their “stance”

Teacher is the judge and decides who justified answer the best

Could be used in a Social Studies classroom for debates/political issues

four corners
Four Corners

Assign vocabulary words, concepts, or questions to each corner of the room

Students are assigned a corner and must respond as a group to the prompt

Each corner shares out

Can be used in any content area

Should be more general concepts, instead of “debatable” theories

counting quiz assessment of whole group instant feedback on who remembers previous material covered
Counting QuizAssessment of whole group-Instant feedback on who remembers previous material covered.
performance based ifa
Performance Based IFA

Strategies apply to performance based assessment.

Discussion and Teacher feedback are used to improve performance of skill/concept.

methods or techniques for authentic assessment
Methods or Techniquesfor Authentic Assessment

Performance demonstrations or tests such as playing a chordal song accompaniment on an instrument or clapping a steady beat while singing a song.

Audio or video recordings that document samples of students’ musical behavior.

Portfolios that chronicle and monitor student learning over a period of time.

Interview or conferences with students to determine the depth of their understanding and give students a chance to reflect on their achievement.

From The Musical Classroom. 5th Ed. 2001. Prentice Hall.

band strategies
Band Strategies

Full Ensemble Snippet- Entire Ensemble performs selection of music. Recording/playback/discussion/immediate director feedback

Section Snippet- Single/multiple sections perform selection of music. Recording/playback/discussion/immediate director feedback

band cont
Band Cont.

Individual Snippet- One or two students perform the selection of music with director providing immediate feedback and encouragement.

Sight Seeing- In six minutes or less, performers look over new music and look for cues to how the music is to be performed. (Same process used during state music festivals)

band cont1
Band Cont.

3-2-1- Students write down on index card three new music concepts recently presented, two examples where concept is used in the music, and one unresolved question or confusing concept.

Muddiest Measure- Students write down on index card the measure number of a measure of music and concept they are struggling to perform. (Rhythmic combination, new fingering)

8 th grade rehearsal
8th Grade Rehearsal

Day 2 of having new music, band piece “NEMESIS.” Director conducts ensemble and listens for:

Tone Quality, dynamic accuracy, correct time signature

Tempo consistency, accurate accidentals, proper posture

Key Signature - Eb Concert, accurate articulations

Blending within section, rhythmic accuracy

Horn carriage, breath support

Balance across the ensemble, accurate repeats, intonation


After each snippet, the director leads discussion of missed notes and concepts, and gives feedback for improved performance.

Sound Clip 1,2 “Nemesis” mm 9-17- Full Ensemble Snippet

Sound Clip 3,4 “Nemesis” mm 9-17- Alto Sax Section Snippets

Sound Clip 5 “Nemesis” mm 17-25- Full Ensemble Snippet

Sound Clip 6-8 “Nemesis” mm 17-25- Trumpet Section Snippets

Sound Clip 9-11 “Nemesis” mm 17-25- Clarinet Section/Individual Snippets

technology used in band
Technology used in band:

Self recorded chair tests-assesses individual skill level at that time, while providing competition and goals to achieve.

Self-recording, using UJAM (lab website)-new concept of student recording at home and sharing when at school. Assesses performer’s ability to play in time with a recorded song or metronome.

Smart Music Studio

other encore ifas
Other Encore IFAs:

Exit Slip (percussion goal for the quarter-student self reflects and teacher acquires information on weak areas in section)

Note Naming Quiz (timed, reward is bragging rights! Students reflect on what notes need more work)

Carousel Brainstorming-While Carousel Brainstorming, students will rotate around the classroom in small groups, stopping at various stations for a designated amount of time. While at each station, students will activate their prior knowledge of different topics or different aspects of a single topic through conversation with peers.  Ideas shared will be posted at each station for all groups to read.  Through movement and conversation, prior knowledge will be activated, providing scaffolding for new information to be learned in the proceeding lesson activity.

other encore ifas1
Other Encore IFAs:

Oral Presentation, Reflection, and Share out

Daily Journal Entries

Speed Typing

Guided Classwork

Questioning and Dialogue

integrating technology
Integrating Technology

Websites (resources, links, practice samples, etc)





**Note: Nearly ANY of the “classic” informal formative assessments can be applied using a variety of technology.

website weebly
Website: Weebly

Assignments tab

Import PowerPoint lessons, word documents, website links, photo albums, etc.

Google Docs, Forms, Spreadsheets, and Presentations

google drive
Google Drive

Must have an active Gmail account

Stores all of your documents in one place, accessible from anywhere with internet access

Saves automatically

Can connect and share with co-workers

google forms
Google Forms


User friendly

Questions can be multiple choice, fill in the blank, checkboxes, choose from a list, scale, and grid.

Option to make certain questions required before allowing form to be submitted

Results in a spreadsheet of data

examples of forms
Examples of Forms

ipad for formative assessments
iPad for Formative Assessments

Many apps can be accessed on desk top computers

Used in all content areas


Similar to Google Forms

Questions in the form of multiple choice and short answer

Grades multiple choice quizzes

Also shows data at the end of the quiz

Students are given a number in which they connect

Teacher opens and closes quiz


Similar to Socrative in that student connects with teacher lesson

Upload PowerPoint presentations and students follow along

Questions embedded throughout lesson

Questions can be poll, multiple choice, whiteboard fill in the blank

Immediate data provided

Can be used in any content area


Can be accessed on desktops/laptops (Quizlet)

Ready made decks of flashcards, or you can create your own deck (and share)

Used after instruction

Excellent for practicing terms

educreations interactive whiteboard
Educreations Interactive Whiteboard

Students can create a “lesson” or demonstration of knowledge

Able to write or type, alongside voice recording

Import pictures and links

Formative Assessment: teaching others

popplet lite
Popplet (Lite)

Brainstorming App

Export and Share with others

K-W-L: Make a Popplet of what you know/what you want to know before lesson, and add popplets as the lesson proceeds

snap guide
Snap Guide

Similar to PowerPoint

Students can move slide by slide, adding a picture or video to each slide

Can be used on desktops

Writing: story telling

Math: Step by step instructions to solving an equation

Social Studies: timeline of events


Can be accessed from desktop

Question or prompt to start discussion (or incorporation of standard)

Bounce ideas off each other

Teacher can easily interact and make comments