Two Pencil Free Assessments to Use Tomorrow

“My pencil is broken!” Words we hear and panic- the seemingly quick exit ticket is complicated by materials, and is taking time away from valuable teaching and activity time. Yet, as a teacher that knows the value of formative assessment to drive future instruction, you are not willing to give it up. Below are 2 pencil free assessments that are easy enough to use in your classroom tomorrow.

1. Plickers

Materials needed: 1 student plicker response card per student, 1 teacher mobile device.

Cost: Free

Using Plickers, students hold up a specific side of their printed Plickers card to indicate their answer. The teacher scans all of the responses at once, using a phone or tablet, for an immediate visual representation of correct and incorrect student responses.


After viewing student answers live, a visual report of all responses is available online.


Plickers is great for immediate feedback as well as for exposing individual student’s misconceptions, as each student’s card is different than anyone else’s in the class. The app recognizes the individual cards, and reports back to the teacher the answers for whomever the card is assigned. If you teach more than one class per day, the Plickers website allows you to organize students and reports by class. The same paper cards can be used from class to class, as long as students use the permanent card number assigned to them in their “class” on the Plickers website.
Plickers is free to download and use, and can be downloaded for both iOS and Android devices. The Plickers cards can be printed in varying quantities for free from the Plickers website, and laminated versions can be purchased from Amazon.

2. “Tear Along the Dotted Line” Assessment Slip

Materials needed: 1 paper tear assessment slip per student

Cost: Free
The concept of these is simple, students tear the sheet of paper along the dotted line to indicate their answer. It is a quick and easy task, and easily shows you what misconceptions students may have. These are great to pass out during lesson close, and as students exit the gym they drop their assessment in the bucket or hand it to the teacher. Tear assessment slips are not limited to lesson closure either- they are easily used at the beginning of class and during transitions from instruction to activity and the slips are easily reviewed as collected. Although you will not know which students submitted which slip, you learn which concepts to revisit or reteach after reviewing the assessment responses. Customize and print your own using this template (4 assessments per page).

Tear Slip Sample


What strategies have you used to formatively assess students in the classroom? Share the pencil free assessments have you used in your classroom.


Nearpod to Enhance Sport Ed in Phys Ed

It is a very exciting time in education. New technology is allowing us to create blended learning experiences that enhance student learning. Best of all, students are motivated and become more involved in their own learning process as they synthesize information to construct knowledge. Nearpod is a website and app that allows teachers to share real-time presentations that include a variety of media and interactivity. Whats more, student interactions and submissions are available as a report for teachers to view. Below, the use of Nearpod in Sport Education units is discussed.

In addition to being an effective tool for teaching important concepts and cues of an activity or sport, Nearpod is a great way to engage and motivate students in their sport education unit. The presentation format makes it possible to incorporate many different types of media including images and video while the interactive assessment and activities are excellent for checking for understanding and developing sport education materials.

Let’s examine the use of Nearpod in my 6th grade physical education class where students used nearpod to learn about offensive strategies, develop team plays for playbooks, and to create team flags . Each student in my class accesses Nearpod from their iPad using the session code- no need to create accounts which is one of my favorite parts of this program. After entering their first name, the teacher paced presentation asked a few pre-assessment questions.


Student offensive play created using Nearpod

The following slides taught students about offensive strategies: what they are, their purpose, and 4 strategies they can use in class (give and go, moving to open space,  running routes, and creating plays). After learning about each, student’s saw a demonstration of each strategy from videos imported into Nearpod from PowerPoint . Following the last strategy, which was creating a play, students used the drawing feature to create and name a play of their own. This play was later printed and added to their team’s playbook, which was used during gameplay.


Students planning their running routes for a play in their playbook.

The final activity of creating the team flag was planned by the entire team, and only submitted by the team’s coach. Students always get REALLY into this part, it’s great! The flag was displayed underneath the team name on the scoreboard.


Team flags created by students using Nearpod. Flays were displayed on scoreboard with team points.

In all the Nearpod presentation took about 20 minutes. Within this time students were pre-assessed, taught a concept, created team plays, and made team flags. The use of Nearpod alleviated the need for passing out pencils and papers, drawing/showing demonstrations, and multiple transitions. Besides creating the presentation, all that was required was accessing the submission report and printing the team flags and plays.


In what ways have you used Nearpod in Physical Education?
More About Nearpod:

Using nearpod in the classroom provides information to both students and teachers. As students view the presentation, they are shown slides that can  include videos, images, text, websites, pdf files, and audio- thus allowing teachers to present content in multiple ways. Slides can also include interactive features like open ended questions, fill in the blank, multiple choice, and drawing. As the teacher you are not only sharing lesson content with students, but also learning from their submissions via a visual report displays student participation, answers, and reflections.This data helps drive instruction and expose student understanding.

drawing feature

Student using the interactive drawing feature of Nearpod to respond to a question



3 Technology Based Assessments to Drive Instruction

Drop the pencils and papers, they’re not needed here. Assessment in the classroom is evolving, and there are new and exciting ways to track student understanding using interactive websites and apps.

Imagine this- displayed on your student’s computer or tablet is the question you developed to assess their learning. As you look down on your device you are seeing their answers as they are submitted in real-time. This is no longer just something you imagine, because here are the websites to make this a reality in your classroom. Below, I examine 3 online assessment tools that offer a variety of features to teachers and students.

Make sure you check out number 3 on the list… it is a HOOT!

1. Nearpod

Nearpod is an interactive presentation website that allows teachers to instruct and assess within the same presentation. Presentations are created or accessed in the Nearpod library, and are viewed by students on their devices in real-time or at their own pace. Slides can include media like videos, images, text, websites, PDF files, and audio as well as interactive features like open ended questions, fill in the blank, multiple choice, and drawing. As the teacher you are not only sharing lesson content with students, but also learning from their submissions via a visual report displays student participation, answers, and reflections.This data helps drive instruction and expose student understanding.

Students do not need to create a username to use Nearpod, as they access the quiz by entering the quizzes session code on Nearpod is also available as an app.

2. Socrative

Socrative is an online website that allows teachers to create quizzes that include multiple choice, short answer, and true/false format questions as well as exit tickets and polls. There is no need for students to create an account. From their devices, all students have to do is enter the class code to access the current quiz being given by the teacher. Depending on the quiz settings, students answer questions in real-time or student paced and feedback can be provided for each answer. Like Nearpod, student answers are able to be seen by the teacher as they are submitted and a report is available as well. There is no library to use quizzes developed by others, however, you can import quizzes with a code provided by a quiz’s creator.

One of my students’ favorite quiz formats is called the “space race”. Students work either alone or in groups to complete the quiz. For every correct answer their space ship advances. The spaceship that moves the furthest in the shortest time “wins”. Since the space ships move with every correct answer, students love to look up at the SmartBoard to see where their spaceship is. LOTS of excitement with this format.

3. Kahoot!

On the topic of excitement, this site really nails it. From their devices students are provided with an access code to enter the quiz, and students do not need to create an account. Quizzes include multiple choice questions created by the teacher or from the Kahoot! library. The goal is to be the first person to answer the question on the screen correctly and with each submission students are given points for answering correctly and the speed of their correct submission. After time has elapsed for the question, the correct answer is shown along with the names of the students with the highest point values. While this is being displayed on the SmartBoard, student’s devices show them how many points they need to catch up to the person ahead of them. This way, students who are not displayed as a high scorer don’t know exactly what place they are in and continue to be motivated to reach that next person ahead of them. Student results are available to the teacher as a report that can be downloaded as a file or into Google Drive.

Each of these sites offers different features and benefits in regard to assessing students in the classroom. With each there is flexibility in device, as each can be accessed from computers, smartphones, and tablets.

What ideas do you have about using these websites and apps in your classroom? Please leave a comment.

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