formative assessment

Ionic Covalent Compounds and Card Sorts

Ionic Covalent Card sort

Card sorts are a great way to achieve a number of classroom objectives.  They can be used as a review activity or they can be done during the middle of a lesson as a type of formative assessment. Sorts can encourage students to work with other students or can even be used as a type of exit ticket. I decided to use the strategy about two thirds of the way through a unit on covalent and ionic compounds and lewis structures. I knew there were items we did not cover in the sort but I was curious to see how they would approach these unknown topics.  

App Review - Classkick


Although not a chemistry app, I have been using Classkick(link is external) in my chemistry class strictly as a formative assessment tool and wanted to share the many benefits I have found with it. Classkick is a free app that is currently available through the itunes(link is external)store. I use it with the iPads I have in my classroom. Soon, classkick will be available on other devices besides just the iPad.

Concept Mapping as a Review Tool

It's that time of year for those of us on the semester block system - end of course content state exams loom large and student stress is at an all time high. The longer I teach in this environment, the more I see how these tests push teachers to provide packet after packet for review. The stakes are so high for everyone - and teachers are afraid they missed something.

Assessment does not have to be a dirty four letter word......

Exit ticket strategy

 I love the periodic table. I love the order, the stories, the trends and patterns, the people who made it. I love how it can be used. I love that it is the ultimate cheat sheet for a scientists or a student taking chemistry. I love the different types of periodic tables that exist. My love for this table is pretty evident. I have four periodic table ties and a periodic table bow tie. My wife went to Florida for a week to take care of her sick mother and while she was gone, I bought a periodic table shower curtain. I learned two things pretty quickly. Eight year old boys can't keep secrets (my son specifically) and as much as my darling wife loves me, she drew the line on the shower curtain. It was her or the shower curtain. So, I took it to school and tried to put it in the one place that made to the safety shower.

Teacher as Researcher

Teacher Researcher

n teaching we regularly change our class structures and routines and we implement new “interventions” in hopes of changing classroom dynamics or reaching more students.  I know that most of the time I make these decisions based upon anecdotal evidence, perhaps after glancing at a handful of exit tickets from my students or based upon how I “felt” the class went.  Recently, though, I’m finding myself a little more hesitant when making a claim about my class.  I require that my students support their claims with evidence, so why wouldn’t I also support mine with evidence? 


What are they thinking? Where did they get that idea?

Making Thinking Visible

Have you read “Making Thinking Visible”?  You should. It focuses on making student thinking visible to the teacher. While still learning to use the visible thinking routines, I really feel more conscious of students’ understandings than ever.  

Here is a sample activity that I adapted to fit my honor chemistry students’ needs:

Utilizing Google Forms For Feedback and Data Gathering for Instructional Videos in a Blended Classroom

In my previous post, I shared the general formatting of the videos I create for my IB Chemistry course within which I utilize the flipped model. Within that blog post, I mentioned that I use Google Forms to collect data about the videos, and I'd like to offer some thoughts on this as a tool with many uses.

NSTA Activities

Avogadro @ NSTA 2013

At NSTA (in beautiful San Antonio, Texas), this past week, I shared activities designed to explore three levels of representation AND provide formative assessment techniques to reveal student misconceptions. All of the activities shared have been featured in the Journal of Chemical Education or have been linked to research articles in JCE as supporting information.