Students Choose The Next Learning Destination With Formative!

By David Kwan

5th grade math teacher & Formative Educator Kayla Lemiuex

5th grade math teacher & Formative Educator Kayla Lemiuex

Our teachers are so creative with Formative! For example, Kayla Lemiuex built a travel-themed weebly website where students can take a formative to gauge their progress with a mathematical domain and then choose the appropriate learning activity (ex: a Formative learning playlist). And to cap it off, students get to explore something fun about the featured country/continent before heading off to the next destination. Check out highlights below:

Students take a pre-assessment for the mathematical domain and based on their score, select the next learning activity

Students take a pre-assessment for the mathematical domain and based on their score, select the next learning activity

An example of a pre-assessment Kayla made. Tag questions to standards for tracking student growth across formatives!

An example of a pre-assessment Kayla made. Tag questions to standards for tracking student growth across formatives!

Here's a learning playlist where students watch short instructional videos and then practice. Kayla is able to see their live responses so she can support them.

Here's a learning playlist where students watch short instructional videos and then practice. Kayla is able to see their live responses so she can support them.

Students get to learn more about each destination as they proceed!

Her overall approach is awesome because it invites students to self-assess and practice skills at their own pace. We want to be in your class Kayla! 

That Moment When You See Your Students' Live Drawings Appear

Seeing your students' live drawings appear on Formative for the first time is exciting because you realize that regardless of grade level or writing skills, your students can represent their thinking and you can give them instant feedback.

In the image below, 7th grade Science teacher Angie Card's students model waves! Plus, she's able to provide both written and mastery (4 point scale) feedback.

As fellow Science teacher Nick Weiss mentions, "I've used it when modeling molecules and atoms too...pretty much works for any scientific modeling activity". Glad to hear it Nick! If you've got a great set of student drawings to share, tweet it mentioning us (@goformative), post it on our forum, or send it to us over the site! We'd love to show it off! 

The Benefits of Error Analysis

by Angela Gonzales 

We cannot talk enough about the benefits of error analysis. Learning happens when mistakes are made and what better way to learn than to analyze mistakes. Take students through the error analysis process, and let them take lead of the questions through open dialogue with peers to really comprehend the "why" and "how" behind each of their problems. Take Stacey Muller for example, who used our "show your work" feature to allow her students to analyze a question that had been completed incorrectly. Students then had to correct the mistake and explain the "how" and "why" behind their new solution, not only building new understanding but building off of misconceptions and generalizations. How do you utilize error analysis in your classroom? Share with us on our Facebook or Twitter page or leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you! 

Vocabulary as Art

By Angela Gonzales 

When art and vocabulary intertwine, the pairing is magical. Take a look at English teacher, Paul Moss' utilization of formative and art. Paul used our short answer feature to have students respond to a challenge he posted on Formative. He shared these results on the board in front of the room and had students reading and collaborating with one another both virtually and face to face. This is one of the best ways to reach all of the learners in your classroom, even those that are apprehensive to participate. An added bonus? Students then had to add their vocabulary words that they found to a mandala that they were creating. Talk about a class that we want to take. Thanks for sharing this with us, Paul. Your creativity is inspiring.

Students posting their findings on Formative.

Students posting their findings on Formative.

Students adding their vocabulary words to a Mandala that they were creating in class. 

Students adding their vocabulary words to a Mandala that they were creating in class. 

Using Formative Responses To Drive Discussion!

By David Kwan

It's easy to see why teachers love projecting student responses on Formative. Instead of pulling notebooks to put under a document camera to share, you have every student response at your finger tips. This makes it easy to encourage students to explain their thinking or interpret peer thinking! Plus, you can hide names and scores so students can focus on what they can learn from each other rather than who got it right vs. wrong!

In Ms. Roache's pics below, amazing discussions emerged when students were asked to compare the black and white pieces of a whole!

How Would You Catch A Giant Squid? Use Formative!

How would you catch a giant squid? This is the question that Mark Schlaudt posed to his students and it quickly turned into a STEM project! His students used Formative to create digital blueprints of their contraptions before building actual prototypes! How cool is that?

Mark's students discussing the digital blueprints they built on Formative!

Mark's students discussing the digital blueprints they built on Formative!

Mark explains why he used Formative to help his students create and share their digital blueprints:

Formative is one of the best formative assessment tools, as it allows for endless creativity. When a student logs in they are prompted with the question, "How would you catch a giant squid?" They then were able to draw, write, insert pictures or a combination of all three to answer the question. As students worked independently on their blueprints I had the teacher view of the question on my screen which shows a live view of what everyone is working on. With this displayed around the classroom students were able to see, in real time, how others were designing their rigs. This helped to scaffold those that maybe didn't have all the information they needed yet, didn't have an idea of what to do, etc. Students next sat down with their groups and reviewed their blueprints, discussed potential flaws in their models and came up with a new blueprint as a group that ultimately would be translated into a real, working model.”

Students build prototypes, bringing their Formative squid-catching blueprints to life!

Students build prototypes, bringing their Formative squid-catching blueprints to life!

Want to learn more about Mark’s fun STEM project? Follow the link below!

http://twonerdsandacomputer.weebly.com/nerds-blog/how-would-you-catch-a-giant-squid

 

 

ISTE Presentation Highlights: Using Edtech For Formative Teaching

By David Kwan (Formative Community Manager, former special Educator)

Happy 2017 everyone! On Saturday, we got the opportunity to present about the idea of formative teaching. It was exciting because formative teaching is a new term that we think should be spread worldwide and practiced with technology. Click here to watch our full presentation or if you just want the highlights, read on below:

 

1) To understand what formative teaching is, we can look at a more familiar term, formative assessment. Many people have different ideas of what formative assessment means:

!

2) If we assume that an assessment is a check for learning, we can simply look at the adjective, formative, to describe formative assessment. The bottom line is that YOU make an assessment formative:

3) David Wees' chart below shows different formative assessment strategies from Dylan Wiliam (top row) and how teachers practice them in different instructional routines (far left column) throughout the class period. As you can see, what you need to do to help shape student development goes far beyond frequently administering assessments and giving written feedback on them:

FormativeAssessmentInstructionalActivities.png

4) And so, whereas formative assessment can provide you with useful data, we believe formative teaching does a better job of acknowledging your role in driving student development and encompassing all the strategies you use: 

5) Speaking from personal experience, practicing formative teaching and all the strategies that can come with it, can be a daunting time and workload challenge. That being said, Formative (goformative.com) can help you gather live insights, given instant written feedback and scores, and spend more time actually planning the interactions that actually help shape student development (ex: student-centered class discussions where students can be activated as instructional resources for each other)...

6) And very soon, you'll be able to see how a class or an individual student is doing a specific standard or skill over time, to not only see if they've grown, but how to help them learn more...

The Formative Manifesto

By Craig Jones (Formative co-founder & former Science teacher)

For the last two years, I've asked just about every teacher I've come across to tell me what the word formative means to them.

Craig taking the formative out of formative assessment and making learning awesome!

Craig taking the formative out of formative assessment and making learning awesome!

Without fail, most teachers will say something about assessment... something like "a short-quiz", "an ungraded check for understanding" or a "quick exit ticket".

Mind you, I don't ask teachers to tell me about formative assessment.  I directly ask them to tell me what the word formative means to them.  The word association between formative and assessment is incredibly strong in educators' minds.

If I were to ask anyone other than a teacher what the word formative means to them, the answers almost always become very literal or even emotional.  Non-teachers talk about "forming something" or an experience that they had when they were younger.  This formative experience often is so powerful that it is a defining moment in their life.  For instance, 10th grade was a formative year for me because I had a great chemistry teacher who taught me to fall in love with chemistry.  (This is why I became a science teacher)

Why did such a beloved word, get stuck with a controversial word like assessment?

Don't get me wrong.  I do not hate assessments.  Also, it is some consolation that formative assessment is known as the good assessment.  However, its simply a shame that the word formative is linked to formative assessment to then only be compared as the opposite to end of year tests (i.e. summative assessments).

The point is that the formative part of the classroom is so much more than a system of quizzes, exit tickets, assessments, or any other activities.  The formative part of the classroom is the teaching that leads a student to love learning.  Teachers create formative experiences.  Assessments do not directly help students grow, teaching most certainly does.  As a result, I propose a manifesto to replace the phrase formative assessment with formative teaching.

First Digital Breakout: The Journey

By Dawn Frier (7th,8th Grade Math and Science Teacher)

(The original post is from Dawn's new blog and she let us post it here so other Formative teachers can learn from how she used Formative for her first Breakout ! You can bookmark her blog as a great resource for all things "Math and for Math" and follow her on Twitter (@MrsFrier)!

I have been interested in the Breakout.edu idea since I first saw it at the KW Google Summit last April.  I couldn't get into the session but found the idea intriguing.  I investigated getting an actual box but I have so much stuff already and the price caused a bit of a pause so I put it on the back burner.

Last weekend I was asked if I'd heard of a Breakout activity that was digital.  I had, but decided to investigate further.  Once I learned a little bit by reading http://www.breakoutedu.com/digital/ I decided to try and make one for my grade 8 Math classes about Integers.  I think I had as much fun making it as they did trying to solve it!

Tools & Resources Used

The tools, videos and resources listed at Breakout.edu were helpful.  I used the Ransomizer, FakeTextMessage and the FakeReceiptMaker.  I already use Blogger so decided to use that to display those last two items as they are better seen in colour and the students can zoom in if necessary to see better.  I also used several forms to create digital locks by utilizing the Data Validation function. The old fashioned paper and pencil were also used.  I finally had them go to GoFormative so that I could watch and respond live with clues one question at a time that they need to find "the gang".

Here is how it lays out:

One of the Text Messages

One of the Text Messages

1. A Google Form with some questIons to get them warmed up. When they have answered them correctly and submitted the  form, then they will get the link to a web page with the next clues. 

2. On the Web Page: http://mrsfriermath.blogspot.ca/p/integers-break-out.html they will find the receipt and a web page taking them to the next form with the digital locks that they can solve with the information from the web page. 

3. Once this one is submitted correctly, they need to go elsewhere in the school based on the clues given and find the paper with the next piece. 

4. The questions on the page will allow them to solve the lock on another Google form listed on their page (in shortened form).

5. That form will direct them to a Google doc with the text messages that have the clues to solve the questions available in GoFormative assignment.  There are four questions and each one gives them one part of a location.  In this case they have to go in sequence as I won't give them the clues out of order.

6. Because mine was a "crime" involving them having to find these "people" I hid people cutouts in their final location.

7. Once they found them, they had to bring them to me, and give the location in the final GoFormative question then put them back for the next group.  That released the prize which happened to be small Gingerbread men (same shape as my people cutouts).

Reflecting On The Breakout

I realized as I was making it that I needed to actually create a document to keep track of the steps, clues and answers so that I knew where they were going and what prompts they might need when they got stuck.  I also needed to ensure I wasn't sending them in circles and that one clue actually led to the next.  

It is not perfect but it was a great experience for all of them - even the ones that didn't find the gang.  I need to change some things in the clues for the next time, but we all learned something and had fun. The engagement and perseverance seen was awesome.  

You know a task is going well when you hear "Can we do this again?" and can't get them to leave your room for lunch! Math is such an anxious subject for many and they totally love my crime solving and challenge days as they forget they are actually learning and practicing their Math skills. 

The Digital Breakout is just another one of my tools, and it was a good one and I will definitely try it again.  We will be doing a family Math night this year, and I might just have the kids create our class game as a Digital Breakout. Hmmm, .....

 

 

Solving A Murder Mystery With Formative: Pythagorean Theorem Saves the Day

By Dawn Frier (7th, 8th grade Math & Science Teacher)

Have you ever played the game Clue? Trying to solve the mystery first is a fun endeavor.  After watching a video from the Teaching Channel on introducing the Pythagorean Theorem in a more discovery based way that included solving a mystery( see Teaching Pythagorean Theorem to see how the lesson is taught), I thought I would  try to create it for my students.  I decided to combine Google Slides and Formative together.  I could present the images and garner the initial discussion using the slide deck.  Formative was perfect for the Murder Mystery portion of the day.  

Dawn's students responded to questions on Formative to get clues to solve the murder mystery!

I love Formative because it allows me to interact with the students and capture that interaction live.  They answer the questions to get the clues to the above mystery.  In this case, they have to run about the school to find each question which also adds that kinesthetic and movement piece to the class.  This first mystery earned me many “Can we do this again?” comments.

The other nice thing about Formative is that I can have the questions self mark so that I can just look for the correct ones to give the clues, then respond to the others with feedback to get them in the right direction.  

Math is not everyone’s favourite subject.  Anytime the subject can be taught in a way that gets students engaged in the topic is a good day.  This activity was my first (but turns out not to be my last) that involved solving a mystery.  I have since also created a Digital Breakout that also uses GoFormative.

The slide deck can be viewed here: Investigating Pythagorean Theorem. After David at Formative suggested embedding it into the Formative (which you can do using the Publish feature and embed code in Slides) I decided against it for now as I have the slide deck as a complete lesson and some parts of it I don’t want the students to see.  It could be adjusted if I wanted to break the slide deck up into parts and add more annotations so that it was more self-directed.  

I am still new to GoFormative but I like where it allows me to go.  I plan on expanding its use into Science too. There is no telling where we will go next!

 

Want to connect with Dawn and share your own fun ideas for integrating Formative in multi-sensory activities? Follow her here!


    

Assessment of EFL Reading and Writing through the lenses of a practitioner using Formative

By Formative Educator Murat Türk

EFL Instructor Mr. Türk

EFL Instructor Mr. Türk

Murat Türk has been an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) college instructor for almost 11 years. He has delivered a wide range of courses in EFL settings including ESP Science, ESP Medicine and English for Fine Arts. Now he is currently giving CEFR B2 Reading and Writing courses at college. He is also an author of three English-test-prep books which have been on the Turkish market since 2010. Besides his professional work, he is also a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology. His research interests include Flipped Instructional Model in EFL settings, blended learning, instructional design and social media. 

 

“Let me start with something striking: My students attitudes towards foreign language learning, namely English, have drastically changed for better ever since I started using Formative in my classrooms. I have been using Formative in my Speaking, Reading and Writing classrooms and I have received very positive feedback from my students so far. You can easily see that having studied in a traditional, paper-based system for years, students feel tired of being passive elements in their learning process. Formative has made it possible for me to transform them into active and engaged participants in our EFL journey. Below you can find how I have been using Formative in my EFL classrooms for the past year:

 

He gets his students excited to discuss short answer questions like these by sharing them before class!

Speaking Experience: Formative enables you to create different tasks on ready templates on which you can write your questions. I use Short Answer template to assign short answer, intriguing questions to my students that will promote curiosity and critical thinking. Before class, students read my question, think about it, come up with some ideas and come to class prepared and ready to engage in more sophisticated discussions in class, which is an integral part of Flipped Classroom today. It really encourages them to come to class prepared as they know that they will be asked to discuss the issue at hand and that they will have a certain audience to address. 

 

Murat sets up answer keys for automatic grading. The color-coded scores allow him to gauge student understanding and manage the pacing of his lessons!

Reading Experience: I use Formative to create different tasks intended to improve my students’ EFL vocabulary. I use Formative Multiple Choice templates on which I prepare multiple choice vocabulary test items which I myself write, considering their current level of interlanguage through which they are trying to build up the target L2. I assign it to my class and my students answer the questions. While they are doing the task, I can receive live results! Considering their overall performance on these vocab tests, I make my decision whether to move along with the next unit or review the vocabulary items which seem to be problematic for my students. This gives the teacher a great opportunity to provide scaffolding for students whenever they need it. 

 

He assigns writing tasks in which students can apply peer feedback!

Writing Experience: As is well known, EFL writing is one of the most complicated processes in language learning as writing is a productive skill that requires persistence, perseverance and immediate feedback to develop in a healthy manner. I use Formative to assign writing task questions to my students. For instance, I give them a writing task in which they are supposed to write an introduction paragraph on the basis of what they have discussed with their peers in class. This dimension also makes communication and collaboration more valuable for students, as they depend on their pair or group discussions in class for the proper fulfillment of the writing task that I assign on Formative.

 
Murat also gives his students actionable feedback so they can improve their writing!

Murat also gives his students actionable feedback so they can improve their writing!

After they write and submit their paragraphs, I give them instant feedback on the strengths and weakness of their writing pieces. My students love to read my feedback on their cell phones because they feel that their writing is being analyzed and assessed in a systematic and serious way. Based on my observation and my one-legged interviews with my students, I can easily say that Formative engages students in their own learning process and helps them take ownership over their own foreign language development. Using their cell phones, which they normally use for social media and texting messages, also adds the element of fun and the sense of “being different from others”, which makes them feel “cool learners”. This psychological dimension should not and cannot be ignored because these people were born into the digital age and they are 21st century learners who must be empowered with the technological tools necessary to fulfill the standards and requirements of this digital age.

Thank you,

Murat Türk

From Genotypes to Phenotypes: Go Beyond MC With These 4 Formatives!

Gregor_Mendel-210x300.jpg

Mendel, the father of genetics, was able to identify patterns in peas and predict the traits that individuals inherit. And with the 4 genetics formatives below, you'll be able to spot trends in student learning and help your young scientists over the course of a learning unit! They are especially gene-ial is that they are made for different stages of a learning unit and give students creative ways to demonstrate their understanding.

 

 

A. This exit slip by Alyssa Greenwood is a quick way to see if your students understand the difference between the major terms they'll use to describe what they are learning throughout the course of your unit on genetics!

B. Here's a fun formative by Mr. Patrick Irvine that lets student demonstrate what they've learned from Mendel's experiments! The word bank is a great way to support the acquisition of unit vocabulary!

C. This quick quiz from Alysssa Moody is great to give while students are still learning how to complete punnett squares! Check out the helpful steps on the left!

D. As you wrap up a unit on genetics, try this unit assessment from Alyssa Moody. She's on a roll! She gives image-based multiple choice questions which can be auto-graded.  

And now that students have gotten more practice with completing Punnett Squares in the context of Mendel's experiment, she asks them to apply to a new context without the steps given! Here's an alternative Honors version of the same assessment!

Don't forget to grab a copy of each of these 4 ima-gene-tive formatives! Remember that you can edit your copies to make them work for your learning unit and student groups! Got another awesome formative on genetics or another topic? Tell us about it on Twitter or share it in the Science channel on our forum! Bonus points for being the first one to post there!

Flipping Roles: Students move from edtech learners to leaders

By Formative Educator Rachelle Poth

Technology has created so many ways for teachers to provide choices for students, enable learning to occur anytime and anywhere, and to also be able to further differentiate instruction for the students. In addition to teachers being able to take advantage of the resources available to deliver instruction and assess students, these digital tools also create the possibility for students to take more ownership in their learning and become empowered learners. 

Rachelle and her edtech leaders!

Rachelle and her edtech leaders!

We need to offer diverse learning opportunities for students and to provide the support needed to encourage them to take more ownership in their learning and to become the leaders in the classroom. Students have to be more than just consumers, they need the chance to create, to experience learning from different perspectives and take this new knowledge and apply it in different ways to meet their needs. 

How do teachers know what is working in the classroom? Teachers can use assessment tools and monitor student progress, but it is far more valuable and important to classroom culture and growth, to work on relationships and build collaboration by asking students to be a part of the conversation and creation of class materials. When teachers do this, they understand what helps students to learn better, be more engaged, and have a more authentic learning experience.  It also becomes a way to build student confidence and transform them into classroom leaders and advocates, who can then share their knowledge and experience with others in their class and then the community.  

Give them choices and let them lead

At the end of last year, I wanted to see what students thought about creating these assessments using tools which were traditionally used by teachers to deliver instruction.  Cassy shared her experience in the prior post and emphasized the importance of including students in the decisions of when and how to integrate technology.  Because reflection is key, I took this information and thought about the logical next step.  How could I share the message about Formative, or even more importantly, how could the students share their input with others, especially educators?

Students take over

Last month, Cassy had the opportunity to take the lead and present to a group of educators at a technology conference in Pittsburgh, and show how Formative can be used in their classrooms. Cassy had become the teacher, she created a lesson with Formative and offered her perspective on the use of edtech.  This time, I asked several students to participate in an edtech conference, and to present the session. Cassy taught the attendees about Formative. Here are her thoughts on the experience...

Student perspective on edtech: Cassy becomes the teacher

9th grader Cassy presenting Formative to teachers!

9th grader Cassy presenting Formative to teachers!

Cassy: "On November 8th, 2016, I participated with two other students in TRETC (Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference) where educators and technology directors from the Pittsburgh area presented sessions on uses of technology.  I am extremely grateful that I had this opportunity to share what I learned about and what I have created with technology. Formative was the perfect choice of a tool to share with the group of educators. I feel Formative is a wonderful, interactive and creative way to teach, complete assessments and increase engagement in teaching environments. I was very excited that I was able to inform others about this web tool because it means other students can have the same great opportunity I have been given, which is to use technology to learn and be creative. 

Cassy had teachers respond to a Show Your Work question and draw their own flowers!

Cassy had teachers respond to a Show Your Work question and draw their own flowers!

    For the presentation, I created my own Formative which included a video, a true/false question, a multiple choice question, a short answer question, and a draw your response question. I included all of these so the group could see how many different options and aspects there are to Formative. I also explained the other possibilites with Formative, how to assign the Formative and answered any questions from educators or technology directors. One teacher asked if we (meaning my Spanish 3 class) have used Formative in the classroom. I told her that we have used it very often and I enjoyed it every time. I also explained how it is possible to see all of the responses of those participating in the Formative. While I talked about all of these great aspects of Formative and more, the group participated in the Formative I created and were able to see all of each other's’ responses. 

The dynamic teacher-student duo showing educators how to act on live responses!

The dynamic teacher-student duo showing educators how to act on live responses!

    I was very pleased with how the group reacted. I felt I had explained Formative well enough that everyone had a general, if not advanced understanding of how Formative worked and the advantages of using it. Seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of everyone in the room meant that I had accomplished my goal of informing and sharing what I was so passionate about and making an impact with technology. 

    I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to present at TRETC with my fellow students and my extremely talented and intelligent teacher. Mrs. Poth has opened so many doors for me and has taught me so much. Learning about tools, like Formative, has made me realize how useful technology is for learning. It was wonderful to hear what Mrs. Poth had to say about Formative on top of what I had to share about it. The group was able to see two perspectives on how Formative has impacted the classroom, which I felt made a very big impact.  I admire her opinions and her comments. I am very appreciative that I could hear and see my fellow students and teacher talk about what they love so much about technology.

 Being able to present with Mrs. Poth, was a great opportunity. I am very pleased I could share what I love so much about technology. Formative encompasses everything I love about technology: maximum creativity, endless possibilities and strong usefulness. I can’t think of a better tool I would have wanted to present than one that shows and encompasses my passion for technology: Formative." 

Want to learn more about giving your students ownership over edtech and opportunities to present tools to teachers? Tweet to @Rdene915  or @goformative !  

 

3 Formative Exit Tickets That Let Students Self-Reflect And Help You Plan!

Can you believe it? Only 1 day left till Thanksgiving! As the leaves drop from trees, this is a great time for self-reflection! So we gathered 3 special exit tickets to help your students reflect on their learning at the end of class. What's special about them is that they let your students quickly communicate their overall learning progress according to a scale and reflect on a deeper level as well. 

1. This first formative is by Sara Taylor and lets students communicate their understanding according to visual scale! The follow up question is written in a student-friendly way and let's you quickly determine what you might need to re-teach or spiral back to:

Grab a copy of Sara's folder of formatives here! It contains this one, "How Many Bars?", as well as plenty of other learning reflection activities!

2. Next up, Veronica Enriquez created a formative that let's students share their level of mastery according to a 4-point scale! What's great about scales like these are that you can also use them for grading rubrics so students can compare your evaluations and their self-reflections easily. It's also got an awesome follow up question that can help you validate the level they picked!

Here's a copy of Veronica's formative! Feel free to modify it for your students! It won't affect her original!

3. This last one comes from our Formative co-founder and former 8th grade Science teacher, Craig Jones! This one is great because Q#2 let's students practically reflect on what skill or concept they are leaving class with! Q#3 is a great follow up because it allows students to show it!

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 12.15.16 PM.png

Your formative account already comes with a folder ("Pre-Made Checks for Understanding") containing this formative, "Exit Ticket: Self-Evaluation", along with others!

Formatives like these are awesome because they provide you with the insights you need to have quick follow up conversations with your students and work with them to set personal learning goals. Got a creative learning reflection formative you'd like to share? Submit it here! We can't wait to check it out!

Sharing Formative With Others? Here's 7 tips!

Formative has evolved over the past two years, but the key ingredients for effectively sharing it with others have stayed the same! After asking hundreds of our educators, we've gathered 7 presentation tips that are sure to get your audience excited to used it.

Disclaimer: They may actually jump out of their seats with joy, screaming "GoooooFormative". Don't worry, it's a good thing!

Disclaimer: They may actually jump out of their seats with joy, screaming "GoooooFormative". Don't worry, it's a good thing!

1. Let them take a formative

One way to quickly show teachers the power of Formative is to let them pretend to be students and take a formative. When they see their own live responses appear on the screen, an audible "a-ha" moment happens; teachers realize they can tap into student thinking and immediately give them what they need so they can learn more! Click here to get a copy of the demo formative we've made! It's quick, fun, and has a variety of questions!

 

Here's one of the questions from our demo formative!

 

2. Share practical reasons for using Formative

Giving your audience the chance to take a formative is a great way to get them thinking of all the ways they can use the live responses they collect. And in addition, it's a good idea to share your top reasons for using it and even show examples. Here's a couple reasons many teachers use Formative:

-Decide what to teach next based on trends

-Group students based on performance and strategies

-Give instant written feedback that furthers student learning

-Set an answer key, let Formative take care of the grading, and give scores back instantly!

-Generate rich class discussions based on student work (exemplars, strategies, misconceptions)

 

3. Give teachers time to explore and build their own formative

We've found that teachers appreciate ample time to explore features, and build a formative they can use with their actual students. During this time, teachers can also ask you questions about using Formative in their own classrooms and also send us a message over site! Here's a video which shows how to use Formative in less than 5 minutes!

 

4. Show teachers our community-driven library of formatives

This modest but mighty Google spreadsheet has well over 1000 formatives for teachers to choose from by subject, grade level, and standards/skills. The formatives are organized in descending order by grade level and you can use the find hotkey on your PC (crtl and f) or Mac (command and f) to search a section by keyword!

As you can see, our library has formatives for many subjects! Don't see one? Let us know!

As you can see, our library has formatives for many subjects! Don't see one? Let us know!

5. Give teachers access to the resources they need to move forward

We've got a ton of how-to resources for teachers to dig into on top of messaging us over the site!

-User guide (very concise)

-Video Library (organized into sensible sections)

-Wall of Gifs (no reading necessary)

-Forum (inviting, growing knowledge base of tips and ideas from our teachers)

6. Become a Formative Educator

Apply to be a Formative Educator and you'll receive exclusive access to our new version, updates on our game plan, invites to our internal team meetings, and even future opportunities to present! All in all, it's a great way to form a deeper connection with our team, stay on top of the latest, and share inside info with your audiences! Plus, did we mention you get a digital badge?

7. Follow up to see how it's going

Even after an awesome presentation, teachers might still have questions about using Formative for the first time with their actual students or feedback on their initial experience. We encourage you to check in with them and always feel free to bring us in on the conversation too! We love to help and learn from teachers actually using Formative!

You can message us over the site by clicking on our Intercom! 

You can message us over the site by clicking on our Intercom! 

Here's our PD (presentation) pack which has materials which align with these tips! Got more? Tweet to us or message us over the site! We'd love to share them!

Calling All Text Detectives: Try These 3 Formatives!

Winter Is Coming! What Better Way To Enjoy Than With Hot Cocoa, A Good Book, And Live Annotations With Formative!

 

Want your students to become instant text detectives? You can upload a reading passage to a Show Your Work question and students can use the draw tool to annotate in real-time! Try projecting their live annotations and having a class discussion comparing "detective work":

 

We hand-picked 3 formatives from our library, which encourage students to annotate in different ways! Check them out below and grab your own copy of each:

 

1. 6th and 7th grade Language Arts teacher Gail Sigelakis shared this awesome "Writing Quiz" with us! Check out how Gail prompts students to color-code different elements of the text! 

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Click here to grab a copy of Gail's formative "Writing Quiz"! It features a creative way to make a matching activity and assess reading comprehension on Formative! Feel free to change what you want! It won't affect Gail's original version!

 

2. This next example, "Critiquing RTL Body Paragraphs", comes from 9th and 10th grade English teacher Dawn Lam! On top of having students color code different elements for "Of Mice and Men", she lets students show how'd they improve the body paragraphs.

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Here's a copy of her formative complete with reading passages where students can identify quotes and re-write commentary too!

 

3. Last but certainly not least, here's an example by Mr. Morehead. What's unique about this one is that he has his students annotate to show their reading comprehension.

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Grab a copy of Mr. Morehead's "BOTR Quiz #1 Chapters 1-6" here

 

We hope these examples provide good food for thought! If you've got a formative you'd like us to check out, you can submit it here and you might just see it on our blog!

Using Formative and Google Classroom To Encourage Peer Learning!

Hey everyone! 

We recently chatted with 6th Grade lead teacher Christy Harmon about how she uses Formative and Google Classroom to help her students learn from each other. Christy uses Formative to project live responses for students to discuss in class:

"With the names hidden on the questions, the students determine which answers are correct and evaluate each to determine ways to improve as well as points of excellence.  By doing this,  I have seen a noticeable improvement on both the depth of their answers as well as their accuracy."

She then enables students to continue their discussion after class via Google Classroom:

"After they’ve completed the Formative assignment, what students started doing is posting to each other about problems they found more difficult or a concept they were misunderstanding. And, what I was watching happen was students were taking that time to teach each other, saying, 'well I misunderstood that too but then I read carefully on this portion of the question.' They'd then specify what they figured out to help the ones who were having trouble learning....it’s really about them taking ownership of that learning and helping the other students."

Christy's students continue to collaborate after class!

Christy's students continue to collaborate after class!

It's awesome to hear that by using both Formative and Google Classroom, teachers can create a more consistent learning environment for students to collaborate!

 

 

Skill Acquistion and Shifting The Culture of Learning: An Interview with Joe Mogus

"This is where true learning takes place because the kids are now talking with each other, criticizing but in a positive way"

"This is where true learning takes place because the kids are now talking with each other, criticizing but in a positive way"


Happy summer everyone! Last week, I sat down with Joe Mogus, a 4th grade teacher, who has been using Formative for the past year! I was curious about a math program that Joe uses (Everyday Mathematics) and he revealed how he used it with Formative to not only help his students acquire new skills, but also shift the culture of learning in his classroom:


Joe: It’s a spiraling curriculum where some concepts are introduced, some are acquired, and others are mastered…The way I was able to use Formative and really propel my instruction is by putting it all on Formative…while I am teaching the kids are working on their iPads…I walk around with my personal iPad to see what they are doing and project it up to our smart board and remove the names…and of course the kids could see 75%- 80% have the right answer and the responses all look similar except for their own quirks…but then I’d be like, "look at the one in the second row...why does that one look different?" All the kids would look at it and say “oh that person did this” and by the end of the year, I didn’t even have to remove the names because the community I built and the conversations we were having, the kids would be like “oh that’s mine, I just made a mistake" or "oh, I didn’t even think of it like that". That’s really where Formative was really able to transform my classes!

David: It sounds like it really started to help you shift the culture in your classroom.

Joe: Well it really started with shifting my view. I usually have to be in control of everything…now I don’t have to be, I facilitate and by being able to have that little bit of control through formative where I can see what they are doing I am able to feel comfortable enough to facilitate the conversation and the culture in my classroom. This is where true learning takes place because these kids are now talking with each other, criticizing but in a positive way, so using their critical thinking and they are being creative…using their interactive whiteboards where they can do different colors, different thing. Whereas paper and pencil are just grey and white!

David: We are going to be adding a lot of new tools for students to show their work, including an undo button, shapes tool, and an equation editor as well!

Learn, Feedback, Re-learn: An Interview With Tech Integration Coach Lori Hower

Hi everyone! David here! I'm the Formative Community Manager and a former middle school special educator. Recently, I got to have a quick google hangout with Lori Hower, an amazing tech integration coach who shared Formative at her high school. She told me that while her teachers were initially drawn to Formative's efficiency, transforming paper worksheets into digital assessments, when they actually collected live student responses, they realized the true power of our tool:

"they get so many opportunities for reinforcement to solidify their learning"

Lori: I came across Formative and presented to our high school staff in one of the sessions back in February. A few of our teachers embraced it and wanted to give it a try. The way I shared it out to them was I collected examples from different worksheets that our teachers were using and I made it as part of the staff PD...so they were actually doing their own homework on Formative...but then what happened was one of our Science teachers...she discovered that while her students were actually doing the assignment she could watch their responses and send them a message...notify them of what they needed to adjust...she said she was able to cover all the information that she otherwise probably wouldn't have completed and the students wouldn't have gotten so much information so quickly if she hadn't used Formative.

David: It's great to hear that it started out with her using it for efficiency but also it seemed like she to really use it formatively!

Lori: Students popped right in and did the assignment. They completed it without seeing their grades at first. But then, about half way through, she switched the scoring so they could go back to see which ones they missed! So they get so many opportunities for reinforcement to solidify their learning and prepare for their final...these kinds of tools didn't exist a year ago...it just wasn't even possible...so everyone is really excited! She's going to do some additional PD for the upcoming school year for elementary teachers!

David: That's awesome! When I co-taught as a special educator, I wanted something just like this, where I could identify my students needs immediately and give them what they needed while still respecting the pace of the rest of the class. So I agree it's a whole new world. If you had to sum up Formative in three words, what would they be?

Lori: "Three words, that's tough! What comes to mind is learn, feedback, re-learn."

David: I love it!

Lori: As adults, we learn that's the process of life!

Empowering Students To Find The Best Resources For Them

By Guest Author Rachelle Dene Poth

HS French and Spanish Teacher Rachelle Dene Poth argues for more student voice, choice, and leadership when finding the right materials for every student. One of her students, Cassy, a 9th grader in Spanish I, reflects on what she's learned from that experience.

Resources are everywhere: Where do we start?

Teachers work hard to find diverse resources to help students learn. Supplemental materials can be found in textbooks and other resources, through a quick search online or implementation of teacher-created or student-made materials.  An online search will result in a tremendous list of resources which includes webpages, images, documents, videos, and other media formats for a teacher to choose from. It seems simple enough, but it really isn’t quite that simple.  The challenge is finding the right resource for each student.  Being able to do this requires more than just conducting a simple online search. It requires that we truly know our students and understand their needs. Students do not all respond the same way when it comes to learning and feedback and developing these relationships will help teachers to provide the best learning opportunities.  Finding something that will enable each student to have an opportunity to grow, receive personal feedback, to experience learning multiple ways, is something that teachers strive to provide for their student.

Choosing tech tools for students is a good starting point...but what’s the next step?

Technology offers many ways for teachers to differentiate instruction through digital tools. The number of tools and the features available changes every day. Finding something that works for everyone may take a little bit of time, and it involves some risk taking, flexibility and reflection to truly find what works best for each student.  And while teachers are good at determining what might work best for their students, it is important to hear from the students themselves.  Asking the students directly what helps them to learn better, stay engaged, and feel challenged will enable teachers to differentiate instruction and provide appropriate opportunities for all students.  Student voice in how they learn and their opinion of tools used in the classroom offers the teacher valuable information and different perspectives.  So it is worthwhile to take the time to investigate some tools, ask the students to try new things and then see what they think.  

Rachelle's students drawing a watermelon with our "Show Your Work" drawing tool!

Rachelle's students drawing a watermelon with our "Show Your Work" drawing tool!

Give them choices and let them lead

So I wanted to know, what do students get from the choices they are given? Does it make a difference?  What helps the students to learn?  A few years ago I started giving the students different options for how to complete a project or an assignment. Other times,  rather than assigning a worksheet for  homework, they had other options such as creating a game, participating in a classroom discussion online, or even the use of blogging, all which made learning more personalized and meaningful for each student. I value the feedback that I receive from the students and when I try something new, I always want to know what they think of it. In order to learn more about student needs, I decided to have one of my students become the teacher, create a lesson using Formative, and share their thoughts about the new experience and the benefits.   

Student perspective on edtech: Cassy becomes the teacher

Cassie getting ready to show tech tools that help her learning "catapult".

Cassie getting ready to show tech tools that help her learning "catapult".

Cassy: I believe technology is an important part of learning and is a great asset to teachers and to students. Technology allows students to have the freedom to choose how to do projects, homework assignments or other classroom activities. This freedom allows students to thrive and do the best they can. I know that I love the process of finding a new website, game, project or teaching tool that I can use to help my learning catapult. It is also fun to explore the possibilities of technology and what it offers me. I can be creative and innovative. Classes which integrate technology are completely different than those which do not, because they provide more opportunities for students to learn. 


    Formative is a great example of the infinite possibilities technology can offer students and teachers. Documents, websites, pictures, questions and drawings are integrated into this program which allows for differentiation and creativity in various ways. Also, many people can participate in one formative assignment. The teacher or creator of the formative can see individual responses and work with the student one on one and provide personal feedback. Formative creates an effective learning experience while keeping a fun atmosphere. 


    On May 16th, 2016, I participated with other students in the PAECT (Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology) student technology showcase, where students from Pennsylvania showed how they use technology to its fullest potential. I made my own Formative and allowed others to try it, and highlighted all of the different uses and how effective it is for education. I enjoyed sharing how a digital tool like Formative can provide different learning activities, enhance how students learn and how teachers can teach. 

"Formative is a great example of the infinite possibilities technology can offer students and teachers."- Cassie

"Formative is a great example of the infinite possibilities technology can offer students and teachers."- Cassie

Why having tech available in the classroom matters

I feel that making students turn off their phones or computers is not fair and is not smart choice. Teachers do that for their benefit, not for the students. The current  generation of students is extremely involved and knowledgeable about technology. If all teachers could dive into the world of technology and understand its importance, significance and benefits, and then take the time to explore new ways to integrate some technology into class, it would make a huge difference in a student’s learning experience. I don't know why more teachers don’t use technology to teach because it is a way to get the students more involved in the learning material.

What do students want?

I want teachers to empower, engage and inspire me. I want teachers to give me the freedom to be creative while I am learning. I want teachers to make learning relevant to my time, and my life experience. Technology is the way to do that, to get students involved. It allows me to have my own voice and learn in the way that is best for me. I do not want to be held back from the infinite possibilities that technology offers any longer. 

Student Voices: Listen to what they say

Rachelle: It is clear that students have opinions about technology and its benefits.  Having choices in how to learn, being exposed to different learning tools and styles, and receiving feedback are all benefits of technology integration and ones which positively impact students.  When they have opportunities to work with technology and choose how they learn, including them in the conversation and asking for feedback empowers students even more. Since students are the group most affected by the technology used in the classroom, we need to hear what they have to say.