December 1

Down the Stretch (Part 2)

Yesterday I began this series with a post promoting the concept of using an exit slip as a means of formative assessment.  Today, let’s look at another way to collect feedback from students and encourage them to reflect on thier learning.

How about asking students to create a list?  I live and die by my lists.  I’ve mentioned that I use all sorts of tools to help me keep up with the many lists I need to keep me on track.  For example, Google Keep helps me track books I want to read, my grocery list, and other reminders.  I use my calendar heavily to help me know where I need to be and when I need to be there.  I keep lists to remind me to complete tasks and lists to clarify my short-term and long-term goals.

Why not ask students to create a list to clarify and demonstrate their learning?

This could be done with the old David Letterman trick using humor and counting down.  What are the ten most important take-aways from this unit or this lesson?

Students might be expected to create a list of steps.  This would lend itself easily to science where an experiment was completed.  It would also fit well for a historical study where students listed steps that led up to an event or occurrence.  Of course, the list of steps for the solving of a math problem are obvious.  Students could also list the steps from exposition to resolution in a written piece.

This list technique could be done by asking students to create a vocabulary list.  The vocabulary might be an outlining of the most important concepts relating to the lesson, the unit, or a long-term study.  Students might be required to compile a vocabulary list describing a famous historical event, person, scientist, mathemetician, musician, artist, the main character of a fiction piece, or any other number of topics.  Then, a quick explanation of why the vocabulary is important or a definition of the term in relation to the topic of study would follow.

I often would ask students to make a list of things that might be found in the wallet of a famous person or a character in a story and explain what the significance of that item has to the wallet owner.  This clarified their thinking and made them look at the subject with a different slant.  This concept wouldn’t have to only apply to a famous person, it might apply to an animal in a certain biome or a character in a piece of fiction or a Terra Cotta Soldier in a tomb or a particular type of equation in math or a drop of water in the water cycle or…well, I think you get the idea.  I’ve asked them to list and explain the items in a vehicle’s glove box when the vehicle transported…  Again, critical thinking is required but a simple list is pretty easy to compile.

We use lists for ingredients and students could be asked to compile a list of ingredients for the topic at hand.  Then, take that list one step further and ask students to write an entire recipe.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to read a recipe for a Samarai or an X Chromosome or a peace treaty?

Integration of technology isn’t a must for such an exercise but it is also easy to seamlessly incorporate.  The list or recipe could be completed as a Google Document and submitted via Google Classroom.  It could also be created using a Padlet, Socrative, or a Google Form as mentioned in the previous post.  Lists can be created, illustrated, and verbally explained using Educreations, Doodle Buddy, ShowMe.  Lists could be completely audio with a tool like Vocaroo or fun and humorous as well as audio with Chatterpix Kids or Sock Puppets.

Just because we seem to be in the stretch doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still be stretching student thinking.  Why not put your own twist on that age-old technique of making a list?

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Posted December 1, 2015 by Beverly Ozburn in category assessment, teaching strategies

About the Author

I'm Beverly Noland Ozburn and my experience as a professional educator began in 1994 right here in Williamson County when I became a paraprofessional at Page High School. I worked there until 2003 when I graduated with my M.Ed. in Reading and went to Bedford County where I worked as a classroom reading teacher. Most recently, I was a middle school language arts/reading/writing teacher in Rutherford County. I have served as a Co-Director for the local National Writing Project site and as an adjunct professor at Columbia State Community College. Recently, I have served as a consultant for the Tennessee Department of Education's Electronic Learning Center and for Scholastic, Inc. My education includes a B.S. in Agriculture from The University of Tennessee. I earned a certification to teach secondary English and a M.Ed. from Middle Tennessee State University. My introduction to the world of education began when I was five-years-old and my sister was born. I was in first grade and became her teacher as soon as she learned to focus her attention on me for even a brief moment. Oh, the things she learned! I'm sure my mother was thrilled at times. Later, I was the first teacher to guide my two children. If I knew then what I know now... Today I have the joy of learning from our four granddaughters and grandson. I know that there are also times when I teach them unintentionally because my daughter has chastised me for things they repeated after visiting with my husband and me! As a lifelong learner, I am always absorbing, borrowing, and stealing from the folks around me. As a teacher, I'm glad to share those ideas and that knowledge with others. Each day I look forward to working with teachers integrating technology into their instruction and can be contacted at:

1 thoughts on “Down the Stretch (Part 2)

  1. juliegrace

    Teacher leaders assume a wide range of roles to support school and student success. Whether these roles are assigned formally or shared informally, they build the entire school’s capacity to improve.


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