Using Games to Assess

One takeaway from the assessment workshop that I had a few weeks ago is ‘musical swap’.  Perhaps it’s not exactly how it’s called but this game has become my 3rd graders favourite lately.

On the workshop, we were asked to write what we think about assessment on a piece of paper. Then, while we were listening to music (and dancing), we were swapping our paper.  When the music stopped, we should stand with a partner and read what’s written on the paper.  We discussed the statements and gave points to show which statement was better (shows better understanding of assessment). The idea behind this game is to let everyone shares their thinking/ideas/opinions.  Everyone has a chance to ‘assess’ other’s thinking through the points given.  However, it won’t create bad feelings as no one would get 0 points.  This game is definitely good as a formative and peer assessment.

I try to adapt this in the class.  I use this game as a warming-up game which takes only 5 minutes (or even less).  Students are given a small piece of paper and are asked to write 20 questions of 6 and 7 time tables.  I ask them to write the questions randomly.  Once they finish, they will fold the paper and be ready to swap until the music stop.  Of course, they get to choose the song. ‘Uptown Funk’ from Bruno Mars is their favourite. 🙂

When the music stop, each student is asked to answer 4 questions randomly.  Then they continue dancing until all questions are answered.  At the end, they will be asked to check the paper which they have last.  This game allows them to review their multiplication facts (of course after the inquiry into multiplication stage).  Instead of sitting and working on worksheet, this game is more active and fun for them.  When students check the answers on the paper, this allows them to ‘recheck’ if they know the multiplication facts well.

There is also other game which I can’t remember the name.  I was using the game to unpack the new unit.  The students drew what they knew about human body system.  When they finished, they listened to the music (and danced) but this time without swapping the paper.  When the music stop, they should turn around and share the picture to someone who’s close to them.  I ,as a teacher, was walking around listening to what they explain and this helped me to get the idea what their prior knowledge is. It’s interesting to listen to their conversation.  They take turns, listen attentively to each other and comment on each other’s picture.  This game let students share  at least 4-5 times.

What did you find out?’ I asked after the game which took about 10-15 minutes.

Some of them said that there are similarities on the pictures which they drew.

Some of them were wondering why some kids drew the part of the body in certain way.

Some of them were thinking of adding some parts that are missing from their pictures.

Students are always fond of playing games.  They like the idea of moving and interacting.  However, games could be great tools for assessment.  Would love to hear other games that you use in the class to assess student’s understanding.

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