Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Assessing Background Knowledge with Post-It Notes

Missy Miles describes an alternative approach to assessing background knowledge: “As students come into class I hand each of them their own sticky note (which they love). I have a question or other directions written on the board that ask the students to tell me what they know about the topic we are beginning that day in class. For example,
‘List five things you already know about William Shakespeare’ or ‘What do you know about the Holocaust?’ The students respond to the statement or question on their sticky notes and then place their notes on the board. After all students have responded, I read each of the sticky notes out loud, often times categorizing their responses into appropriate fields. By verbally acknowledging each sticky note, all students feel as though they have contributed to the ‘background knowledge board.’ More importantly, many students realize they know more about the topic than they first thought as they recognize other students’ responses. I hear whispers in the class such as ‘Oh, yeah,’ or ‘I knew that!” It causes students to feel as though they can be successful at learning this subject because they already know something about it.” 

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