Sunday, August 15, 2010

Formative Assessment Activities (Serial): ABC Graffiti

This is the second of many posts dedicated to formative assessment activities that you could use in your classroom. In the first post I described an activity called 3 Musketeers. Today's activity also comes from Robin Fogarty and Brian M. Pete, presenters both on (In)Formative Assessment.

One note before I share the activity. Robin Fogarty, Brian Pete, and Douglas Fisher (professor of Language and Literacy at San Diego State, and a presenter on effective group work) advise that the most effective groups sizes are 3-4 students per group.

ABC Graffiti
The groups must come up with describers, definitions, or synonyms for the topic or term that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Creativity points for the letters Q and X. Give a time limit of 3 minutes. 

You've been teaching on a topic, let's say it's local government, and you want to get a feel for what your kids know about local government so far. Use ABC Graffiti as a fun way for students to brainstorm concrete and abstract ideas about their learning. You can use it as a way to monitor their knowledge, assess their understanding, and as a guide for instruction modifications.

You'll need:
  • A large sheet of paper for each group.*
  • Markers are nice, but any writing utensil will work.
*Technology integration idea: Create a Google doc template and have small groups make a copy of the template. Student groups can type in their answers.

What to do:
  1. Assign roles: materials gatherer, scribe, encourager, and roving reporter (used as an idea spy if needed, and you decide when reporters can rove to steal good ideas from other groups).
  2. Each group has a large sheet of paper. The scribe draws a rectangle box at the top of the page (this is where the topic or term will be written). 
  3. Students write all the letters of the alphabet (nice and big, use the space) down the left side of the paper and onto a second column if needed.
  4. Provide the groups with the topic or term. The scribe writes the word you provide in the box at the top.
  5. All group members give suggestions as they work together. Give them 3 minutes.

The topic is Local Government
A: American way
B: Ballot
C: Congress
D: Democracy
So on.

A higher order thinking skill is prioritizing or ranking. Ask the groups to find on the graffiti sheet the top three most poignant words that describe the term. Have the reporter report the group’s top three to the whole class. Record the top three of all groups. Create a word wall. Facilitate discussions.

Bonus ideas:
  • Have students write a sentence or quick write about the term.
  • Have students create a compound word with part of speech and definition. This can help create a sense of ownership with words they create. For example, the words Democracy and Vote can be creatively combined to form Votocracy n. A system that allows for people to vote on important decisions.


Puzzleman said...

I like this activity and can see multiple uses for it in the classroom. I'm the type of person who will use this to the point where it becomes negative to my kids. I'll have to remember to mix in some other great ideas as well.

Mr. Kornoely said...

It's all about keeping it fresh. Variety is the spice of life (and classroom). Thank you for the comment!