This year our district adopted a new lesson plan template. I was not happy because I dislike change. One of the things on the template that I had never had to put in my lesson plans before was formative and summative assessments. I honestly struggled with the difference in the two and coming up with creative formative assessments for the first few weeks. The more I researched and read other people's plans I became more and more comfortable with these types of assessments.
Now when I write my lesson plans I attempt to make my formative assessments as fun and creative as possible. For example, when teaching comparing numbers I would place two numbers on the board. Students would hold a thumbs up for greater than, sideways thumb for equal to and thumbs down for less than. This assessment allowed me to quickly see which students had mastered the standard, which students were getting there, and which students still did not understand at all. As I perform my formative assessments twice per week I keep a composition notebook with the results. I simply date the page, put the standard and the task. Then I have my 3 groups: red (does not understand), blue (understands, but needs more work), and green (masters the skill). I list red, blue and green in colums and put students' numbers, initials or names under the group they belong in. This is priceless data and allows me to form my guided math and guided reading groups based on the data.
I feel that I am much more competent in assessing math and reading than the other subjects. For reading I usually do running records, and a guided lesson with a formative assessment once per week. The only way I have found to improve upon this method is printing the standards and group colors on labels. This saves a little time and also makes the notebook more organized. I plan to work on setting up my notebook for next year this summer.
If any of you out there have suggestions of formative assessments for Enlgish/Language Arts, Science and Social Studies I would love to hear them. I would also appreciate any tips or suggestions on ways to improve upon my current method.