### Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.
##### Freebies

…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.

1. Fantastic! You can use this board for a differentiated center, too. The teacher could put a student-specific task or problem on the sticky note, and when students have center time or for early finishers, they will know to check the board for an activity.

• OMGosh! I love this idea!! Thank you so much for sharing!

• Thank you for the freebie and ideas! The parking lot is such a great idea. What a wonderful way to do a quick-check for understanding! Thanks again!

2. Thank you so much for sharing! I do something similar in my class but this method is so much easier to manage and a quicker way to assess for intervention.

• You can’t hardly beat it for ease of use!

3. LOVE this!!! I LOVE the idea above too, thanks Anonymous 🙂 I get so excited for cute ideas!!!
Amy Burton

• I know! I thought the idea for differentiating was great, too.

4. Great idea and thanks for the freebie! Home sick today, and now I know what I’ll be working on! : )

• Too funny! Hope you’re feeling better. 🙂

5. I LOVE this idea!!! It was so good, I had to share, so I pinned it to Pinterest. Hope you don’t mind.

• Of COURSE I don’t mind! It’s all about sharing. 🙂

6. Just found your blog through Classroom Freebies, and now I’m your newest follower. I love this idea! I see so many possibilities for how I can use it in my classroom. Now, if I could only knock some other things off my to do list so I can make this! 🙂

I’ll be sharing a link to this on my blog later this weekend. Love it.
Thanks for sharing!
Alison
Eberopolis

• Right, Alison! It can be used in so many ways. I hope you find some time to whip one up. I just hopped over to your blog, and I’m following you now!

7. I love this! I teach a pull out math class and I only have my students for about 30 minutes each day. This would be perfect for a quick assessment on their way in or out of my class! Thanks!

8. Such cute little cars! Thanks so much for sharing! I will definitely be using this next year!

• I think you’ll really like it, Cindy! It’s a great assessment tool.

9. Great idea! Thank you so much! I know EXACTLY where I’m going to put this, and use it daily. Thank you for the great idea and creativity!

10. Love this! Thank You!

• You’re welcome!

11. Thank you!!! This is absolutely wonderful!

• My pleasure! 🙂

12. I have printed, displayed and used my parking lot this year. Such a quick and easy way to get a picture of where each student is on a particular concept. Thank you so much!

• Thanks for letting me know how well it worked for you, Sharon!

13. This looks like a great idea, but 1 question- where are you putting the questions/problems/tasks that the kids do?

14. Excellent idea! Thank you for sharing and caring. I am a big fan of your math ideas and tools

15. I have been looking for a parking lot to allow students to post questions or thoughts. Have you ever been in the middle of a lesson and a student asks or comments on something unrelated to your teaching? The parking lot is a perfect place for the student to place a posted note with his or her thoughts or questions to discuss later.

• I’ve definitely seen that technique used with adult learners at professional development sessions, Sharon. It would work just as well in a classroom!

16. Thank you for sharing.

• Always happy to! 🙂

17. Hi!

I’m an editor for BuzzFeed and I love your site! We’d love to include a photo of yours from this post (with full credit and a prominent link back to the original post on your site) in a BuzzFeed roundup of smart ideas for classrooms.

And potentially use other photos of yours in posts in the future. Would that be OK with you? Let me know, and thanks!

Natalie Brown
[email protected]
buzzfeed.com/nataliebrown

• Is your parking lot still available? When I tried downloading it I got a message stating it was trashed by the owner.

• I just checked the links and they worked. Maybe a temporary glitch?

• Love this but file says trashed by owner?

• I just tried it, and the link worked for me.

• I just tried it and the Number of the Day link – they both say “trashed by the owner”.