Assess and Dab

by Angela Gonzales 

We snagged this awesome visual for our math teachers from educator, Graham Andre'. He shared this math assignment with his students and we loved the "buy-in" that it created for his kiddos. Who doesn't want to learn about math when you get to do the bottle flipping challenge and the dab? Once we saw this visual, we thought immediately about uploading it to Formative and using it for math. That way, students are engaged and excited in their material and we, as teachers, are also able to obtain immediate results of their understanding. Two for the price of one. What are some other fun and creative ways we can tap into our kid's interests and also get them working in content specific areas? Do you have a favorite method for "Teaching Like a Pirate?" Share with us!

Homeschool in the modern world…

By Formative Educator Kimi Wolf

A resource for all!

Can I just start out by saying that Go Formative is an awesome tool?  It’s been a big help over the past few months. We started homeschooling 3 years ago, almost all the time I was either typing out the work and printing it out or having my daughter write it out.  After a while it started to get frustrating, for both of us. It was so hard to keep her focused and wanting to write out the work.  Her hands hurt her a lot some days, so writing hasn’t been easy for her.  Being able to do the work with Go Formative makes it so much easier for her. ( Now if only I could find an essay program that would guide her toward better essays).  I knew that she needed a technology class as well, and typing her class work would be a good addition for that very reason.

What made us choose Formative?

I spent nearly two weeks looking all over the web for the perfect fit for us. That’s when I came across Go Formative!  I checked it out, put some work up for her, and she loved it! Her grades have gone up, and she looks forward to her classes!   It used to be that she would procrastinate and come up with so many excuses why she didn’t want to do her classes, now it’s easier.  Since she can do it all online, she understands it better and is more willing to do her classwork.  Talk about a great asset for the homeschooling families like us. Now if I can just get her to use scratch paper for writing out her math problems we’d be golden!

It’s a great asset in the classroom...both home and public school!

With Go Formative I can put up images of a graph, or a whiteboard explanation of a problem, and the math block is awesome!  With the math block, you can put in code, and enter in the math problems to not only make them easy to read, but oh so very spiffy. I mean, seriously, it looks all professional. Here, have a look, this is one of the lessons I made for her.

Go here and use this code XMHWRZ

I’ve made quite a few of the lessons available for others to use.  Mostly we have math lessons, but there are the occasional science, literature, and social studies tests.  I’ve even been able to help a friend of mine in another state tutor her daughter in math with the lessons I’ve written up!

Doesn’t that look nice?  I would show you all some of the whiteboard work...but, seriously, you all don’t need to see my crazy chicken scratch. :)  On second’s an example of the white board...with my chicken scratch and all. Lol

There’s also this part called instant feedback where you can send notes to the students.  We don’t use it all the time since she does her lessons right there with me in the room.  But, when I grade her work after she goes to bed I use it, mostly to give her ideas and let her know what a great job she’s doing!  Having that allows teachers to help their students that are home sick, with their homework, or even taking a distance learning class.  It’s an asset to the world of education.

Getting help from the formative team!

Yes, I stumbled my way through learning it, but the guys at Go Formative were so helpful! I asked a lot of questions, and I got all the right answers.  They helped me to learn the coding for the math block, not to mention they’re there to answer any future questions I may have! 

Want to reach out to Kimi and share your own ideas for using Formative for homeschooling? You can contact her on Google + by clicking here!

The Benefits of Sharing Formative With Parents

The other night, teachers at Kennedy Middle School showed parents how they use Formative in their classrooms! Sharing Formative with parents is a great idea because not only can you demonstrate how it helps you provide individualized support for each student in the classroom, but you can also start to collaborate with parents to support students at home.

For example you can host virtual office hours like Formative Educator Lisa Burkhart! She notifies parents that she'll make a formative visible for a few hours each day. This allows students and their parents to review their responses, scores, and the feedback you give, together. Plus,since all their formatives are stored in their account, it never goes missing! What a great support for student organization and parent-teacher conversations!

Got ideas for get parents involved with Formative? Please share!

Let Students Identify Their Own Misconceptions with Formative

When teachers ask students why they love Formative, students often say they like being able to share their own live responses and getting quick feedback. By providing individual support to students, teachers have a huge impact on learning and we are honored to be a part of this process.

What's even cooler is when students are given the opportunity to identify their own misconceptions and independently determine the next steps to learn more. Roxy, an awesome Math teacher, uses the Formative summary view to do just that! Students can spot which questions they need to revisit and concepts they need to review. Here's one of her student's reflections on the impact that Formative has on their learning process:




How Sean Quickly Spots Misconceptions & Then Analyzes Student Thinking

Sean Kendall (5th grade Math) has found a way to uses Formative to automatically identify students who need support AND interpret student thinking to inform intervention. He uses a combination of show your work and short answer questions. Check it out!

Do you have a different way to efficiently provide real-time intervention? Share here!

Jorge's Creative Image-based Formatives!

Jorge Branco is a 7th-12th grade history teacher in Portugal! When we met with him and two other Formative Educators, he shared how he used Formative to assess student understanding and analysis of famous Renaissance artwork! 

Here he asks students to identify whether the piece of artwork is from the Renaissance:

He asks students to identify the elements of architecture:

Let's students infer what different figures are saying and thinking based the overall piece of artwork and their historical knowledge:

And gives them the opportunity to re-imagine renaissance pieces as modern artwork:

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Here's the share codes for Jorge's two formatives (TVSNLQ, TONPQL) so you can get your own copy of it in our new version. In case you don't have access to our new version, message us over the site and we'll get you setup! How can you apply Jorge's use of images to the creation of your own formatives?

Ashley Crenca's Learning Playlists: Supporting Different Paces of Learning


Ashley Crenca is a high school teacher in Rhode Island who uses a station rotation model in her classroom. In small groups, students rotate from teacher-led instruction to collaborative learning activities, and independent, digital ones as well. This three part combo gives students different ways to learn. In particular, a digital activity station can provide learners with a variety of learning resources to choose from to review and practice skills. Learning playlists are a list of instructions to help guide student learning during this time and add in the element of choice: students can choose which resources to engage in to proceed towards goal.

Here's an example of a learning playlist from Tracy Enos that includes Formative as outlet for student reflection (via Cult of Pedagogy):

When Ashley visited fellow Formative Educator Jason Appel's classroom across the state, she came away with a major takeaway for using learning playlists. She learned that Formative is a great platform since you can embed different resources for students to choose from while simultaneously gathering live responses:

On top of giving students easy access to all the components within a playlist, the live student data gives teachers like Ashley the feedback they need to plan teacher-led instruction and collaborative work!

Plus, you can ask students to report which resources they've engaged in:

And you can also ask them to share their own progress:

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By asking both types of questions, you can uncover additional information about independent learning time that allows you to better differentiate within the station rotation model! Here's the share code for Ashley's learning playlist (TLNEKQ) so you can get your own copy of it in our new version. In case you don't have access to our new version, message us over the site and we'll get you setup!



How Chanda Uses Formative To Assess Reading Comprehension And Engage Students

As a daily warm up, Chanda White (6th and 7th grade English), asks students to pick an article from CNN, read it, and share their live summary of their article on Formative! Watch the video below and check out how she project live responses, encourages formal writing, and engages students! 

The next thing she wants to try with Formative is allowing her students to live annotate responses! Here's a few ideas! Got tips for annotating on Formative? Post here! 

Embedding Audio For Accomodations

Teachers have discovered that you can embed audio recordings into Formative and this has become especially important for student accommodations. In the video below, Sean shares how he embeds recordings of himself reading questions and why he prefers this over reading them in-person. He also shares a great workaround for cropping videos that he embeds as well:

And here's how to embed an audio recording yourself:

Lastly, here's a bonus video where Sean explains why he uses Formative for so many different learning activities!



Chatting With Carolyn & Rori: Do Nows & Reflections

We got to meet with Formative Educators Carolyn Griswold (Health) and Rori Abernathy (7th and 8th grade Math) and compare the different ways they use Formative! Carolyn shared how she uses it to give descriptive feedback and Rori shared how she uses it engage students in weekly reflections about growth mindset utilizing Class Dojo! While Carolyn wants to use it for bell work, she's looking for advice on how to do it efficiently given time constraints and Rori was happy to help! Check out the highlights from their conversation below and click here post your own advice in our forum!

Try A Student Interest Survey With Formative

In the video below, Sean shares how he used Formative to conduct a student interest survey on Formative! In addition to getting to know his students, he's found that a great way to introduce Formative to them:

He asks students about their current perceptions regarding school:

And he also uses the survey to reinforce classroom expectations:

Click here for a copy of his formative! If you use Formative as part of a beginning-of-the-year activity, we'd love to hear about it! You can share here!

How Kimberly Helps Her Students Learn About Sentence Construction

Every Friday, Kimberly gives her 3rd grade students, a formative where they write sentences based on pictures. Watch the video below for how she uses the responses she gathers to help them learn about new grammatical elements!

Also, check out why she uses Formative to help students prepare for the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium):

Apply This Art Formative To Any Subject

Instructional Coach Veronica Enriquez has created some awesome formatives to share with teachers in the past and here she share one that you can draw inspiration from no matter what subject you teach! 

Based on their knowledge of the elements of art, she asks students to share which one is the most important and why. The multiple choice question she has included allows her to easily compare responses and quickly get a sense of any trends. The short answer one then allows her to understanding the reasoning behind student choices. We could see this multiple choice and short answer question combo being applied across subjects to quickly poll students and enrich class discussions:

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She then asks students to use the elements of art to depict an emotion in a Show Your Work question. Imagine applying this idea to English or another world language! You could give students templates to depict different types of scenes and adjectives:


Click here to add a copy of Veronica's formative "Elements of Art" to your dashboard on ! If you've got your own creative ways you use the different Formative question types, share them here!

Embedding A Graphing Calculator On Formative!

Ever since teachers discovered that they can embed a Desmos or Geogebra graphing calculator within a formative, our math community hasn't been the same! Teachers can choose to embed the bare graphing calculator or a specific graph that they've created on it! In both cases, student can manipulate the calculator to respond to associated questions. Here's how to embed it:

Instructional coach Veronica Enriquez has been sharing this feature with her teachers! In the video below, she tells us why teachers have started to use Formative for Math and also shows a formative where she asks students to manipulate a graph she's embedded (manipulating "k" to see how that affects a parabola):

How Gretchen Uses Formative For Fill In The Blank Activities

Gretchen teaches composition and creates fill-in-the-blank activities to assess her students' sentence construction skills. In the video below, she walks us through one of her formatives and how she uses the student data she gathers:

Here's the share code for Gretchen's formative (HYVAMH), which you can enter in our new version to get a copy of it! If you don't have access to our new version, simply message us over the site! Also, she wants to start using Formative for annotations so if you've got advice, you can share it here!

Show Students Their Live progress!

By David Kwan

When teachers ask students why they love Formative, students often say they like being able to share their own live responses and getting quick feedback. By providing individual support to students, teachers have a huge impact on learning and we are honored to be a part of this process...

What's even cooler is when students are given the opportunity to identify their own misconceptions and independently determine the next steps to learn more. Roxy, an awesome math teacher, uses the Formative summary view to do just that! Students can spot which questions they need to revisit and concepts they need to review...

Here's one of her student's reflections on the impact that Formative has on their learning process:

How do you use Formative to communicate with your students about their progress? What impact does that have? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, our forum, or over via the chat intercom when logged into

A Personalized World

by Angela Gonzales 

It's no secret how much we love the idea of playlists. Giving your students the chance to work at their own pace and on skills that they need to focus on is so crucial and beneficial to the success of our students. Check out this version of a "playlist" from, teacher, Kelsey Rupsch. Here, we can see her building a self-paced grammar course for her kiddos and pairing it with Formative to assess her students. The beauty of Formative is that you can give all of your kiddos different tasks, and you're still able to watch all of them respond, live, on your device. How great would it be to make a self-paced, individualized playlist for each of your kiddos for every lesson? Sure that's a huge jump, but think about what you could start with tomorrow. 


Global Feedback

by Angela Gonzales

Teachers, have you heard of #gmttc ? This hashtag stands for the Global Math Task Twitter Challenge, started by two amazing teachers, Heidi and Beverly, to connect teachers globally around a common purpose of math tasks. Essentially, you connect with another teacher across the nation, or even the globe to challenge your classrooms to a math task. Students work to solve the math tasks and share their findings with one another. There are a variety of ways in which you could implement this in your classroom, all of which provide opportunities for collaboration. You can find more info about the Global Math Task Twitter Challenge on their blog. 

When May V shared this image today tagging us and Global Math Task, our wheels started turning. The image depicts various student responses from a math task. But, what if these student responses were not from your own students but from the students of a teacher in another state or country. Teachers could connect globally, challenge their classrooms to math tasks from classroom to classroom, and share live results virtually to one another. Students can see responses live and give each other immediate feedback virtually on Formative in real time. Virtual feedback, given across the globe in real time. Even pair students up to provide each other with feedback and allow students to "formatively" assess one another's understanding. Can you imagine the depth of conversations that could take place? How incredible would that be!? The possibilities are endless. 

Easier Than A Ruler: How We Are Climbing The SAMR Ladder

By David Kwan

Yesterday, Cara Senger shared the following pics on Twitter and exclaimed, "the "show your work" option in @goformative is working out great for transformations! #easierthanaruler."

We got especially excited when we saw that hashtag because it suggests that in some cases, our digital draw tool actually gives students an "edge" in showing their thinking (no pun intended). It also encourages our efforts to provide a tool that doesn't just act as a substitute for what is already possible without tech, but creates new possibilities.

There's actually a scale for how much a tech tool changes the way students learn in a classroom and the possibilities it creates. It's called the SAMR model and can be thought of as a ladder, from tech acting as a direct tool substitute for traditional learning experiences to redefining them. Here it's compared to different coffee orders and while they are not exactly the same, we think  it helps convey the model:


Teachers who are using the live responses they gather with Formative to make meaningful changes to future learning activities are realizing our tool's potential for modification (significant task redesign). And while making it easier for students to draw transformations in math class doesn't exactly lead to redefinition (where new learning tasks are possible), it's continuing to motivate us to provide tools that can.

Cara's students used our straight-line draw tool! What other drawing tools can we provide to help your students express their thinking? What tools can we provide to help you explore new learning tasks with your students? Feel free to comment below, message us over the site, or tweet to us at @goformative.