Monday, February 25, 2013

Using Post-it® Notes as a Formative Assessment


Conferences are this week so I'll be using the grand old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words," to get my point across. I like love using Post-it® Notes as a quick formative assessment for just about anything. I'm sharing two ways I have most recently used these colorful wonders in my classroom. 
I'm sure every teacher who teaches reading is used to assessing students then giving them strategies based on the student's needs. One day I started to think and light bulb went off in my head-"I wonder what the students think they need to work on?" To get a quick view of what my students thought they needed work on I made three easy categories that aligned to our CAFE menu. 

The first category said, "I want to get better at remembering what I read; I always forget what I just read!" This category's focus was comprehension with a focus on retell/summarizing. The second category said, "I want to sound better when I read out loud, I sound like a robot!" This category's focus was fluency. The last category's focus was accuracy and it read, "I want to learn tricks of how to attack words that I don't know."

These were the 3 weakest areas that I knew I wanted to form strategy groups with so I purposely left out expanding vocabulary (for now). Then I passed out Post-it® Notes and told students to number their Post-it® Note in order of what they wanted to work on most. I underlined key words so they could quickly write their preferences down. This would be an example:
1. sound better
2. attack words
3. remember
In the above example, the student is communicating to me that they really want to improve in the area of fluency and not so much with comprehension. As soon as they had their preferences written down they stuck it in their 1st choice category. So the example above would have placed the sticky note under "I want to sound better when I read out loud, I sound like a robot!" 

As you can see, some students were "on the fence" and had two first choices. 
I highly recommend doing this quick assessment. I think it was interesting to see what the children thought their strengths and weaknesses were compared to my teacher opinion. The most surprising results came from my higher students and seeing where they lacked confidence as a reader. 

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 Last week we were studying author's purpose. We had talked about it the previous week, and it was a quick way for me to see if it "stuck" with them over the weekend. I had each student think of 1 example of a book or other forms of writing and determine if it was written mainly to persuade, inform, or entertain. At a glance you can see that my class is most comfortable identifying books that are written to entertain since that was what the majority thought to use as an example. This means that I will plan to expose my students to more persuasive pieces and even pieces written to inform. 

The best part about sticky notes is when we went over the students' examples. We did a Whole Brain Teaching method in which the students say "YES!" or "NO WAY!" with big gestures to agree or disagree. For example, "How to Write a Book Report" was originally under persuade. When I read it aloud and asked the students if this was correct I received a big "NO WAY!" from the class, which led to us discussing why/why not and where it should go. The student came up, peeled it off and slapped it under "Inform." Easy Peasy! 


Whenever I break out the  Post-it® Notes, the students get all giddy no matter what I am asking them to do. I recently found these at Wal-Mart in their new dollar section and can't wait to see what bright ideas my students record!
Teach Junkie Creative Ideas

I would LOVE to know how you use  Post-it® Notes in your classroom!! 


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4 comments:

  1. I loveLOVElove this idea!! Such a great way to get students thinking reflectively to self-assess and set goals. Looking forward to following you!

    Amy
    Happy Teacher Heaven

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  2. Just found you via TBTS. Welcome to that group! Loving what I'm reading so far. :) I'm your newest follower and would love for you to guest blog for me if you ever have the desire and/or time. Take care!

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  3. Just found you via Blogging by States! Great ideas here! Like how you use post-its for assessment. My fivers and sixers call me the Queen of Post-its. I use them for so many things in the classroom.

    I am your newest follower, and I've grabbed your button and placed it on my blog. I don't want to lose you:)

    Happy Teaching,
    Angela
    The Teacher's Desk 6

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  4. This is great. Kids love to write on coloured stickies and putting them up is a great way for them to see and share their ideas. Great post.
    Sarah

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