They Paved Paradise... - Math Coach's Corner

…and put up a parking lot!

What’s got me humming that tune today?  Only a great little formative assessment tool!

I was planning with my 3rd grade team yesterday, and we got into a discussion about formative assessments.  It reminded me of a tool called an Answer Board that I was introduced to by a principal a few years back.  I loved using it in my classroom.  As I described the Answer Board and its use, one of the other teachers said, “Oh, that’s a Parking Lot!”  She had used the very same tool in her room, and I thought the parking lot idea was much cuter.

Here’s how it works.  Create a poster with a numbered square for each student in your class and assign each student a number.  When you want to do a quick assessment, students respond on a sticky note and put it on their numbered square.  I suggest having them also write their number on their sticky note, so you’ll know whose work it was once you pull the sticky note off the board.  For example, if you’ve been practicing subtraction, you might give students one subtraction problem to work on the sticky note.  You can very quickly look at the sticky notes after class and pull off the ones of the kiddos who need a little extra help.  Instant small group!  It’s also great for checking up on homework.  Say you assigned students 10 problems to work the night before.  As students walk in, choose several problems and have them write the answers to just those problems on their sticky note and post it on the parking lot.  It’s great for accountability, and you can quickly determine student understanding.

I have two versions of the Parking Lot for you.  The first is a letter-sized document that is great if you have a plotter printer at your school.  If you’re not that fortunate, I have a cut and paste version, which you see pictured below.  This one prints on legal-sized paper.  Cut the squares apart, glue them on a poster board, and laminate.  The version shown below has space for 25 students. The file has numbered squares for 30 students.  They would fit on the poster board if you didn’t use the heading–you could simply mount the heading above the poster board.

Paradise, right?

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