Have a great summer

Summer FI

I am officially on break from the blog for this academic year, but I am already exploring ideas to post when I come back in September. Have a wonderful vacation and I’ll see you back here with new themes, new websites, and new tips as the 2014-2015 school year gets underway!

Mapping out an authentic assessment

Making Map FI

You will love this post from C. Ross Flatt on Edutopia on how a classroom game became a tool for assessment for his sixth graders. In Galactic Mappers, a social studies game about physical geography, students in his classroom compete in teams to create the most geographically diverse continent in a shared hemisphere. This project encourages students to collaborate, design, iterate, and present a finished product in a single class period. The thing I like most about Flatt’s use of the game is the many ways he uses it to [Read more...]

Practice with prompts

Timer FI

This month I have featured many ideas for differentiating assessments and most of those ideas involve giving students options during the assessment process (e.g., tell me or show me), differentiating the goals or expected outcomes, or simply providing a range of assessment tools in the classroom. Today’s clever idea from the Cross Circular Corner is a departure from these solutions in that focuses on preparing students to tackle a common assessment tool: the timed essay.

The savvy English teacher who posted this [Read more...]

Exhibitions of learning

Coalition of Essential School banner

One of the teaching techniques popularized by Ted Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools is the exhibition. Exhibitions are authentic assessments that are ideal for inclusive classrooms in that they allow students to use a wide range of methods to show what they know, incorporate their own interests, work independently or with partners, and access technology and other supports as they work and as they show what they know.

In this article by Kathleen Cushman, she explains that exhibitions are often as simple as an oral presentation but may also involve formal projects or portfolios. All of these experiences typically center on what the Coalition calls [Read more...]

Assessing every day

Checkbox FI

Thank you to Judith Dodge for this short piece on using formative assessments in the differentiated classroom. If you are looking for a few ways to “shake up” assessments in these last weeks of school, click on over to the Scholastic website to read about using reflections, charts, collaborative activities, and more. You may also be [Read more...]


Word Ball FI

Math teachers often find that active learning techniques are hard to implement into their lessons. This one at Ramblings of a Fifth and Sixth Grade Teacher, however, is designed for the math classroom. Word ball is fun and easy to set up and helps students develop a stronger vocabulary that can be accessed across math lessons and units.

This game can, of course, be used in any [Read more...]


Comic FI

We have posted about using comics before but today’s post is unique in that the entire featured blog, The Graphic Classroom, is about using comics and there are dozens of ideas about using comic books, strips, and software to teach, inspire and assess. I found many appropriate ideas to use for this blog but the one I decided on has so many great applications, I had to choose it over all the others. In this post about using comics as informal assessments, Bill Zimmerman shares many different [Read more...]


First Grader At Last FI

I love so much about the community notebooks featured on First Grader at Last. For starters, students can use a range of materials to construct their books and can use artifacts and scrapbook materials to supplement writing. The thing I love most, however, is the little Flat Chelsea and Flat Chip adventure. What a great twist on Flat Stanley and what a fantastic [Read more...]

Nuts and bolts of differentiated assessment

About FI

About.com has a nice piece from Sue Watson on how to design differentiated assessments for the inclusive classroom. Watson explains the purpose of assessment and its role in lesson design. She also explores methods for differentiation (e.g., graphic organizers, presentations, informational brochure) and ideas for assessing beyond the standards. Teachers might, for instance, [Read more...]


Graffiti FI

We try to feature (as much as possible) ideas that can be used across content areas so they may be repeated and learned across the school year. The graffiti board review is one such activity.

Mrs. Harris from Adventures of Room 129 uses this activity as an engaging review and as a way to get learners talking, sharing, and teaching each other. To begin, she calls three students up to the board and has them think of one word or term from the unit they studied (i.e., Appomattox for a Civil War unit). Students can write their words on the board like graffiti- with any color and in any style they choose (bubble letters, diagonally, etc.). After all students have [Read more...]