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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Using Formative Assessment in Math Class Part 2

If you missed part 1, click here to check it out!

Call Sticks

     A must have for every classroom!  Call sticks let you ask a question, provide some wait time and pick a random student.  It really makes students pay attention because they never know when it might be their turn.  It is a great way to increase engagement in your classroom. If you have ever taken a course or sat through a workshop where they were using call sticks you will understand how much it keeps you on your toes.  The ones in the picture are fancy kid shaped sticks that I made when I was feeling particularly creative but regular craft sticks work just fine as well. 

Individual White or Chalk Boards

Getting a class set of individual white boards is a great investment.  I have used mine almost daily for 5 years and they still work great.  Individual white boards are like having your whole class raise their hand and answer a question all at once.  They are great to use when you are trying to figure out what skills kids have.  Ask a question, give them time to answer in on their white boards and then when you give a signal, everyone shows their answers at the same time.  It is a very quick way to see who is getting it and who needs a little more of your time and attention. 

ABCD Cards

These are simple to make, very cheap and work great.  All you need is 4 index cards per kid, a whole puncher and some binder rings.  You can have kids as young as second grade make them with no help from an adult in under 10 minutes.  You simply write an A, B, C and D, one letter on each of four cards, hole punch and put together on a binder ring.  Done!  Then you use them whenever you are doing anything with multiple choice questions.  You simply ask or show the question and answer choices and on your signal the kids all show you their letter at the same time.  I use these most often in the fall when we are reviewing for our state assessment.  Throughout the year, I pull them out occasionally when we are doing other work with multiple choice questions.  I store them in a recipe box so they are always ready to go.

Which of these strategies would work best for your students?  Are there any of these ideas that you could try out this fall?  



  1. I use whiteboards a lot as well. They're great tools. I just need to use them more for informative assessment info.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. They are very useful tools! You also will want low odor markers if you are going to be using them a lot. A very important part I forgot to mention. You open 20 bold color dry erase markers in one room at the same time and you will get a headache for sure!

  2. Whiteboards are a necessity in my classroom. We use them daily :)

    1. It is hard to believe that I ever taught without them.

  3. Great assessment ideas! I never thought of how using the call sticks really makes kids pay attention. Definitely needed!

    -Amanda @
    Teacher at the Wheel

    1. It really does work. I notice it so much myself when I take a course or workshop where they use call sticks. It really makes me pay attention.

  4. I use an approach similar to the ABCD cards. We use sign language for A,B,C multiple choice questions. Each student shows his/her letter at their chest so no one else can see :)