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Formative assessment means providing students with opportunities to show you what they are learning while you are teaching it. These assessments inform your instruction and help you make those little tweaks to your lessons that meet the needs of your students. 

If it sounds tricky that’s because it is. But that’s what we as teachers shine at, being able to shift our instruction midway through a lesson or unit based on the needs of our students. That’s why asking your teachers for a year’s worth of lesson plans at the beginning of the year is absolutely ridiculous … but that’s the topic for another blog post …

Formative assessments don’t go in the gradebook. These assessments are for us teachers, to guide our instruction. But even though they aren’t graded we do need our students to be authentic and show us what they have learned or else we aren’t working with valid information.

So how do we get good, authentic, informative data from assessments that students know aren’t going to be graded? 

With fun and engaging assessments that students WANT to do! We know that it’s especially important that these assessments are easy to do and require little to no prep.

Below you will find a growing list of fun formative assessment ideas that you can use with any lesson. These ideas are meant to be used in a grab-bag sort of way so that you nor the students know what they are going to get.

Here are some ideas, and then two clever ways to pick formative assessments:

Easy, no-tech formative assessment ideas you can use tomorrow

Below you will find 12 fun yet simple, formative assessment ideas that you can use with any lesson. Have another idea to share? Please share it in the comments. Also check out our post Draw, choose, write or say: Fantastic formative assessments for more ideas that utilize technology in the classroom.

A clever way to choose formative assessments

Many times, we choose which formative assessment we want to use carefully based on the situation. We’ll look at the students, the work, the content to be learned, and what data we want to gather as we choose.

However, sometimes it’s fun and spontaneous to leave it to chance! If you’re up for an adventure, check out these two options …

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