Formative Assessment is critical for teachers to understand the areas their students comprehend, and the areas that need more work. It also helps students have a clear idea of learning goals. I use the Marzano Scales to check for understanding in my classroom. I decided this year that I was going to use the Marzano Scales predominately to access my students’ understanding of the weekly phonics skills.
Up until I had these Polka Dot Magetic Labels, I did frequent heart checks with my students. I would tell my students the learning goal for the week and articulate the specific target goals for each score. Then, my students would hold up 1, 2, 3, or 4 fingers to show their understanding. I created a “Showing my Understanding” anchor chart.
1 meant “I am just starting to learn this and I don’t understand it yet.”
2 meant “I am beginning to understand, but I still need a little help.”
3 meant “I understand this well and I can do it on my own.”
4 meant “I understand this so well, that I can teach it to others.”
This was working well, but once I saw these magnetic labels, I knew they would make the perfect formative assessment tool for monitoring learning goals and showing my students’ understanding. I paired the magnetic labels with my anchor charts and wrote a phonics goal on the whiteboard each week.
I labeled each magnet with my students’ names. After I articulate each target goal, my students place their magnet under the score that best describes their understanding ability at that moment in time. My target goals are very specific to the skill being taught, so my students know exactly where they score.
I love how the magnetic labels and anchor chart is very accessible to the children, as it allows them to move their magnet when they feel they are ready to move to the next score. The children enjoy being in charge of their learning and monitoring themselves as the week goes on. This display makes it very easy for me to help me monitor formative assessment, track my students’ progress, give extra help, if needed, and celebrate success.
Lori is the author of Teaching with Love and Laughter Blog. To see more creative learning ideas, visit Teaching with Love and Laughter. If you are looking for more formative assessment ideas, check out our formative assessment resources here.