A New Resource for Teachers

December 12, 2018 Hands On Classrooms 0 Comments

Looking for a quick place for some new instructional strategies? How about a short,  weekly blog post to read?  Look no further than the new Hands On Classrooms Educational Blog.  Beginning in 2019, our staff will be posting a short blog post each week where we highlight new and innovative instructional strategies, provide updates on the Hands On Classrooms program, and provide teachers with links to additional resources. 

To give you a taste of what to expect from our blog, check out a short piece below on Formative Assessments!

Assessment. The word that makes most educators (and students) tremble. Having to put together a quiz or test, grading 75 separate essays on the solar system, or evaluating presentations on photosynthesis. The task of assigning and grading these types of assessment is often daunting; wouldn’t it be easier if there were shorter assessments for you to give your students to check their understanding? That’s where formative assessments come in to save the day!

A formative assessment checks student’s understanding of a concept and can take on many forms. In this post, we highlight some of our favorite formative assessments that will get your kiddos excited about being assessed!

3-2-1  A tried and true formative assessment

As your students are heading out the door to their next class, have them take out a piece of scrap paper and write down three things they learned, 2 questions they still have, and one new vocabulary term from the day. This allows you to see what your students learned that day, but more importantly, lets you know what lingering questions they still have. 

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

For this formative assessment, there are no papers to collect and nothing to read through.  At points throughout your class, stop and ask your students a question like: Before we move on to the chemical equation for cellular respiration, does everyone understand what cellular respiration is?” A thumbs up indicates they grasped the concept, a thumbs down means they need a little more information.


Who doesn’t love a little Japanese poetry? After introducing a new concept, have your students write a Haiku to describe what they learned. A Haiku has strict requirements for length: 3 lines, 5 syllables in the first and third line and 7 in the second. Not only do your students have to be concise in their explanation, but they also get to play around with a new form of writing!


Have suggestions for what to include in our future posts? Send a note to Handson@gmaonline.org with your thoughts!


Happy Teaching!