Teacher Super Power: Reading Student Minds
Unleash your teaching superpower… mind reading
Any good doctor would never rely on autopsies to cure sick patients. What good is checking your patients after they are cold on the examination table? In a similar fashion, good teachers do not wait until it is too late to assess their students’ level of understanding. This is the heart of quality assessment practices. Fortunately for all of us living in this modern world, there are some technology tools that give you superpowers when it comes to knowing what your students need. Modern Formative Assessment tools allow teachers to give varied and frequent check-ins to let students know how they are doing with a goal. Students and teachers can identify areas of weakness, and correct mistakes throughout the process.
If we were to time travel back 60,000 years into the past we would be able to witness some of the first formative assessments. A hairy caveman sits by the fire watching his young daughter as she tries to ignite the flame. She struggles, and he provides guidance to correct her errors. Mistakes are simply opportunities for improvement and the two collaboratively pursue their goal of starting the fire. If our young cave-girl were only given one chance to prove she understands how to light fires, we would still be eating raw meat in the dark. Yes, true to the Geico slogan, Formative Assessment is so easy a caveman can do it. Find a problem, fix it.
But we modern folk have some huge advantages over our hairy ancestors. Formative Assessment in the modern age gives us superpowers. It allows us to read our students’ minds in seconds to quickly identify what they know well, and what they need to know. The following tools can all provide you with a crazy fast glimpse into your students brains; you should take advantage of your modern super powers. All of the tools below are free:
Quizizz for Fast Data
Quizizz is an incredible formative assessment tool that provides you with endless opportunities to know your students areas of need. It is fast, easy, and powerful. Kids are happy because they are having fun and you are happy because you and your students quickly know who needs help. Below you will find a playlist of tutorial videos that will show you everything you could want to know about using this tool. The best way to get a feel for it is to try it with your students. Go to www.quizizz.com to get started using this tool.
Formative: Fast Data and many question types
Formative is a tool that is also intended to get fast information about your student needs. It differs from Quizizz because it offers many more question types. You can use this tool to turn worksheets into interactive online experiences in just a few clicks. It is also easy to use and can be really powerful for informing your instruction. See this video below to get your bearings. To dive right into using please visit www.goformative.com. For additional tutorials please check out the go formative channel on youtube.
Kahoot: A gamified pulse check for your class
Quizizz and Formative provide you with a more expansive view of individual student needs. For fast and really fun class data, try out Kahoot. Kahoot can give you quick insights into your overall class understanding of concepts. It allows you to do real time corrections of common class misconceptions, and when used as a formative tool, allows you to do reteaching on the spot. This is a fun tool that students really enjoy using. The breakdown of responses after each question gives teachers the chance to groove past concepts the students already understand, and instead focus their time on the concepts the students need help with. To get started with Kahoot, go to the https://create.kahoot.it. For some tutorials and information about using the tool, check out the youtube playlist below:
There are many other tools available for formative assessment. If you want to explore other options, you should check out Wizer.me and Socrative.com. All of the tools provided offer simple ways to dive into the minds of your learners. As always, it is up to you, the professional, to figure out the best way to make these work for your class. If you go into using these tools with the intent to find gaps in learning you will save yourself time and be the supportive teacher your students need you to be. Formative assessment takes the guess work out of teaching. You can read your students’ minds. So, take the first step in identifying your students needs, and have some fun along the way.