I often wonder why administrators put so much emphasis on lesson plans. Truth be told my lesson plans never reflect exactly what I’m teaching, because most of the time more than sixty percent of my students are working below grade level. Lesson plans become less important especially during dreadful test prep time prior to testing. Getting students prepared for testing can be a stressful time for teachers.
Since teachers are under so much stress to get students to perform on these tests they make the decision to purchase test prep products from TeachersPayTeachers and other vendors.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve used test prep products too. I know that there’s not a test prep worksheet that will get my students to pass a state test, because test prep begins with my instruction!
Formative assessments are the first step in preparing your students for standardized testing.
What are Formative Assessments?
Formative assessments are checks for understanding during a lesson that are used to adjust future instruction.
Formative assessments are meant to:
- Guide decisions about future lessons
- Track student learning during a lesson
- Help teachers to differentiate instruction
- Provide feedback to students
How does Plickers support instruction?
Teachers are always up against the clock when comes to teaching skills. It seems as if I never have enough time to thoroughly teach the skills to my students. I’m sure at certain times you feel the same way too.
I teach at a school where sixty to seventy percent of my students are working below grade level, so Plickers is my go to tool for formative assessment checks. Since time is of the essence, I try not to spend more than three days on a skill, so on either day two or three I use Plickers to assess the students’ mastery of the skill.
These serve as my tickets out the door, which makes Plickers a huge are a hit with the students! They absolutely love it.
Last week, after I finished teaching division in small groups, I wanted to see if the students had mastered the skill, so I gave them a ticket with a division word problem from a STAAR released test to see if they could solve the problem. After students finished they held up their Plicker cards, and I quickly scanned the room with my Plickers app on my phone. In just two minutes I had the data that I needed to make the decision to either continue with small group instruction or move on to another skill.
How can you get started using Plickers?
I always find myself looking for a way to assess my students’ learning without giving them a five or ten question test. Sometimes I just want to get a quick pulse check on a skill that the student haven’t seen in a while.
If you’re like me and you rely heavily on data to drive your instruction then Plickers is the right tool for you!
If you want to use Plickers it’s a FREE low tech tool. If you’re at a campus that doesn’t have an abundance of technology then you’re in luck. You can use Plickers with your phone or tablet.
Below are four easy steps that you can take to start using Plickers today!
- Create a free Plickers account
- Download and laminate Plicker cards ( you don’t have to print all of them)
- Create a plan for incorporating Plickers into your lessons
- Practice with students
A word to the wise practice several times with your students before you actually begin using Plickers. The Plickers app reads the letter at the top of the card, which means your students must rotate the card so that their chosen answer is at the top. Trust me when I say your students will not put their answer at the top of the card.
After you have practiced a few times with your kiddos have fun and watch the magic happen!