Using Sticky Notes as a Tool for Formative Assessment - Down River Resources

Using Sticky Notes as a Tool for Formative Assessment

Howdy, friends!
It has been a while since I have written, but I have not forgotten you. I must take a moment to express my gratitude to all of you who read this faithfully or happen to stumble across this link off of Pinterest, Facebook, or some other source. I am very honored that you continue trust me to provide insight into my practice and resources that I use with my students for you, through Teachers Pay Teachers. My Facebook fans have doubled in one week and I have absolutely no idea why! If you have the answer, please comment and let me know! Whatever the case, I am delighted that you would spend part of your busy day here on my blog!
For many years, we have been committed to assessing students, whether it be a benchmark or common assessment for a unit or a mastery test, such as the infamous STAAR test (given here in the great state of Texas.)  We saw this significantly increase after No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed into legislation. Though much attention has been on the assessment of our students and standards, what has been forgotten is the day-to-day mastery of our learning target.
When we teach a unit or subunit, we have many things that need to be taught in order to gain mastery at the end. Each of these pieces can be broken down into daily learning target. "Today, we will learn how that two addends put together make a sum." Or, "today, we will learn how to order numbers from least to greatest."

The daily learning target is what I want my students to know by the end of the day's mini-lesson. We create small goals for our students to master during the week, so that by the week's end, we can give them a summative assessment (on the entire subject). In the last few years, our practice as teachers have changed. More emphasis has been given to the formative assessment of students.
I often use a quick question that the students need to answer or give them some type of application that they need to do on a sticky note. I can use the sticky note to check their understanding of the daily learning target. It often sounds like this: "Draw an example of..." or "Create a..." This promotes higher order thinking/critical thinking skills.
Look at the example of the Circle Map (Thinking Maps) of Light Energy. Here is a quick insight into what I think when I see this map at first glance:
1. See the sticky note of "Angry Birds." I may go up to that student and ask, "Tell me why Angry Birds is an example of light energy." Based on the student's response, I would know if they need additional support (intervention) on the topic of light energy.
2. See the sticky notes of the sun, night light, stars, and glow-in-the-dark stickers, I can quickly see that all of those students have a very exact example of light energy, thus demonstrating mastery of the daily learning target in science.

Students were instructed in science to "Draw an example of light energy."
Here is a math example of a number bond unit.

Students were instructed in math to "Create a number bond with two addends." (Texas TEKS K.3AC) 
How do you use sticky notes in your classroom?
Happy Stickin'!


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  2. Thank you for the feedback. It is excellent to hear of teachers being excited for a multitude of methods. I got my start in a Pre-K environment and each day I remember the knowledge I gained there as applied to whichever grade level I teach!

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