Shout It Out Loud: Tools and Apps for Amplifying Student Voices through Formative Assessment
- When students are given control in the learning process, the learning become relevant and meaningful for students. Learners become highly motivated to dig deeper than the standards require, they build connections between content areas and life, and utilize their knowledge to solve real problems. Here are some pieces that I have written on the subject: Students as Teachers, How We Love to Learn, In Defense of Student-Directed Learning, What Motivates Students Today?, Our First Days of School, When the Shift Happens, and Whose Voice is Heard?
- Assessment is an integral part of the learning process. We must put the tools for a student's success firmly into their hands as this is their learning journey. Here are some posts that I have written on the subject of student-directed assessment: Let Them Assess, It's Time to Let Go, and All Rubrics Are Not Created Equal.
- Why do we need to assess more than at the end of unit? Here's an excellent explanation: Healthier Testing Made Easy:The Idea of Authentic Assessment.
- In order for us to best meet the needs of each of our diverse students, teachers and students must be able to check their progress towards their learning goals throughout a unit of study as explained in these articles, What are Formative Assessments and Why Should We Use Them? and Why Formative Assessments Matter. Like many of our teaching practices, assessment needs to transform to meet the needs of today's learners, Imagining Possibilities: Formative Assessment.
- Diagnostic testing gives us a place to begin designing our lessons. Pretests can be given using interactive clickers or, if you do not have any clickers, you can easily use Socrative or Kahoot. Both sites provide you the opportunity to download results. With Kahoot, students can also create quizzes as a way to demonstrate their learning and the learning of their peers.
- In addition to pre-tests, students can engage in creating a KWL using an online KWL Creator which allows students to work on it and save it throughout a unit. Students can also build a Lino to share what they already know and ideas about what and how they want to learn content.
- Time management and organization can be challenging. Using the Confer app, you can quickly take notes on a student’s strengths or needs. Also, using “Quick Text,” you can create a note and apply it to a group of students. Once a note or comment is created, it is saved, and can easily be applied to other students at a different time. My students also set personal goals and we chart their progress with Confer. The video on that site demonstrates how it works.
- Other apps for time management: In the Nick of Time:Tools for Organizing Our Teaching Life. Other great was of providing timely and meaningful feedback is through Google Drive, How Do We Know What They Know? and Where Do We Go from Here? Tools for Providing Timely, Personalized Feedback and From Numbers to Meaningful Feedback. Also we must all consider, Testing vs. Assessment: What Picture Do You Take of Your Learners?
- Often we have students who are shy and reticent to participate in class or small group discussions. It may be due to a lack of understanding, a fear of peer ridicule, an exceptional need, being introverted, or lack of English proficiency. TodaysMeet is a tool that allows students to carry on a back-channel conversation regarding a classroom activity, video clip, guest speaker presentation, or a prompt in a nonthreatening manner. Here are Five Benefits for Using Back Channel in Your Classroom.
- Using Twitter with students is a much debated topic. However, for students who are hesitant to orally share their learning with peers, Twitter provides an avenue where every student's voice can be heard and their learning shared regardless of ability level. Here is a column that I wrote that explains this point: Plugged In: Giving Every Students a Voice with Twitter. Not sure about how Twitter works? Here's a blog where I explained the basics of Twitter. Six word memoirs also give students an opportunity to assess their own progress and share their learning. See Can You Assess in Six Word...No Less?
- Student blogging is an excellent way for you and your students to assess their progress throughout a unit of study. We use KidBlog for the students' individual blogs. Through blogging, students can reflect on their learning and set goals for the future. Also, they can continue learning conversations and ask one another probing questions to challenge one another's learning. If students struggle with the reflection process, you can begin them with Paula Naugle's Student Self Evaluation Based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding graphic organizer.
- Students can create ePortfolios using Weebly for Education. A teacher can set up an entire class of accounts and them set as private or pubic. This format allows the students to sign in and and post evidence of their learning throughout the school year. Learners can post their SMART goals (here is blog explaining SMART goals). Looking for more information about ePortfolios and how to implement them with students? Check out ePortfolios with GoogleApps, 41 Benefits of an ePortfolio, and ePortfolios with Evernote.
- For many students, they have rarely experienced celebrating an academic success. For the students who have struggled academically, it is crucial that they get the opportunity to celebrate reaching their goals. Here are a few examples from my own experiences: Let's Celebrate, The Transformative Power of Writing, When Things Click, and Becoming "Techknowledgeable."