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Shared Strategies

Thousands of teachers, professional developers, and teacher educators throughout the United States and internationally are using the assessment probes and FACTs. If you have a strategy or tip for using these resources that you would be willing to share on this web site, please contact Page Keeley by clicking on the Contact button at the top of this page. Please check back regularly as new ideas are shared and added.


Robert Miller, a fifth grade teacher in Florida, has created a set of video probes, based on the Uncovering Student Ideas series, that students respond to using Edmodo. Click here for the link to Miller's extraordinarily well done video probes.


Cl-Ev-R Poster for Probe Explanations- Thanks to William Rewitz, Puyallup, WA, who teaches at the Bethel School District. William constructed this poster after attending a workshop presented by Page Keeley. William gave us permission to share this adaptation of the Claims- Evidence- Reasoning Explanation Analysis criteria used to self-assess explanations to the Uncovering Student Ideas probes. Based on Kate McNeil's work on constructing explanations in science using data, this self-assessment is designed to be used with the probes in pre-assessment elicitation (before students have the scientific evidence to draw upon) and post-assessment (after students have had an opportunity to collect scientific data or learn the science concepts). Overall, it helps students write better explanations to the probes so that teachers are able to understand students' thinking for the purpose of informing instruction. Click here to download the poster. Thanks William!




Traffic Light Slider- Thanks to my colleague, Cheryl Rose-Tobey, for sharing this idea. The Traffic Light Slider is based on the formative assessment classroom technique (FACT), Traffic Lighting (see pp 199-201 in the Science Formative Assessment book). Print a picture of a traffic light on card stock. Cut 2 parallel slits to the left of the picture. Cut two card stock arrows and place one on top of the slits and the other woven through the back so th epointer and the end of the arrow parts meet. Then staple them together. Now the arrow can slide up and down indicating the green, yellow, and red ranking according to your formative assessment scale. Students can place this on their desks and adjust it as they work, indicating to the teacher when they may need help.



Triple Sticky Bars- This adaptation of "Sticky Bars", from Science Formative Assessment- 75 Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning (Keeley, 2005) was used in a high school classroom during a unit on photosynthesis (thank you to Amy Neiman from La Center, WA). AMy used the probe,"Sequoia Tree", from Uncovering Student Ideas in Science- Volume 2, toprobe for her students' understanding of the transformation of matter that occurs as a result of photosynthesis and the tree's use of food. The post it graphs were made with different colors during the elicitation phase preceding instruction, at a mid point during instruction, and at the end of the unit. Notice how the students' ideas changed during the unit and the record of thinking this strategy provides throughout the instructional unit. Thanks for sharing, Amy!


The Tricycle Demo- This demonstration was used to elicit students' ideas about motion in the direction of a net force. It uses the example of a tricycle instead of the spool in the "Pulling on a Spool" probe from Uncovering Student Ideas in Physical Science- 45 Force and Motion Probes (Keeley and Harrington, 2010). Thanks to Harry Rosvally from Danbury, CT for sharing his demo. Click here for the PowerPoint slides to go with the demonstration.



Is It a Model?- The National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA), in partnership with WGBH Boston, hosted a webinar on "Data Modeling: Bringing Math and Science Together in K-12 Classrooms". Presenter Bruce Jones, from the Mesa Academy, shared how he used the "Is It a Model" formative assessment probe to uncover his students' ideas about models, particularly mathematical models, in order to inform his instruction. You can hear how Bruce used the probe and what he learned from it by linking to the webinar. The "Is It a Model" discussion is about 13:35 minutes into the presentation.


Pond Water- Visualizing the Internal Structure of Single-Celled Organisms. Consider extending the second part of a probe (the explanation) to have students draw a picture to represent their thinking. In these two fifth grade examples used with the "Pond Water" probe (Keeley, 2011), you can clearly see that these students think the single-celled organisms they observed in a drop of pond water or a hay infusion have organs similar to familiar animals. The drawings from the probe show how students overgeneralized what they learned about animals' internal structures when presented with unfamiliar single-celled organisms. For example, upon further probing both students pointed out how their drawings show a stomach and heart. Drawing 1 also shows intestines and Drawing 2 shows lungs (in orange) and eyes. This is an example of how drawings can be used to further elict ideas from the probes and may be particularly useful with ELL students and students who like to draw.


Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears- With permission from the author and NSTA, this NSF-funded project from Ohio State University, uses the Uncovering Student Ideas probe format to develop probes about polar-related concepts. Several of the Uncovering Student Ideas probes are featured as well. Click on an issue and under "Professional Learning", click on the Misconceptions link. Here you will find a variety of strategies and probes for eliciting students ideras about concepts such as weather, and climate, polar organisms, fossils, geologic time and more.


Differentiated Assessment Probes- A team of teachers, from Orlando, FL, took a class: Differentiating Instruction- Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners. Their assignment called for them to consider multiple intelligences and learning styles and produce or modify a pre-assessment for students. This graphic shows how they modified the “Moonlight” probe (Volume 4) to accommodate visual learners and ELL students. Thanks to the team of Ed Olson-Moore, Jorge Carrion, and Sybil Stilwell!



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