My favorite formative assessment strategy is also my favorite in-class guided practice strategy. I call it Swap and Check. I'd really love to find a more catchy name for it, so if you have ideas, let me know! It is originally from the Fred Jones Tools for Teaching Workshop. (Excellent classroom management workshop for rookies, by the way.)
This is a go-to strategy that requires almost no prep and is great for filling a few minutes or a whole class period of review.
Match every student with a partner. If you have an odd number, that person will be by themselves. I'll address that in a below.
Assign one person in each pair to team A and one to team B. I usually give them a way to self-assign. For example, I'll tell them that the person whose birthday is first in the year is on team A. Or the person with the darkest eyes. Or the person who ate at Taco Bell most recently. Or whatever dumb thing comes to mind. If someone doesn't have a partner, they will be on both teams so that each team has the same number of students. This means they automatically are on the winning team. Oh well.
So, you may have noticed by now that partners aren't on the same team...by design. At this point, I usually have team A raise their hands so that I can make sure the teams really are even. I encourage them to write their team name on their paper so they don't forget.
Time to play. Post a question on the screen. Have students answer on their own paper. Usually there is no talking. Unless you want to make it easier. You can have a time limit if you want to increase difficulty or competition. I remind them that it does them no good to communicate with their partner since they are on opposite teams.
Once you deem the question over, announce "swap!" They swap with their partner (whose on the opposing team) and now announce/display the answer. The partner's only job is to check the answer and keep each other accountable since their on opposing teams.
Once everything is checked, have people on team A with the right answers to raise their hands. Count. Have people on team B with right answers raise their hands. Count. Partners make sure no one lies about having the right answer. ;)
You can do this for as many rounds as you like. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. (Bonus points. Team points. Candy. Your choice.)
The students get really into it. Others have asked if it singles out the ones who get it wrong, but not so much. Sometimes they notice, but it has never been an issue. I definitely notice the ones who miss questions over and over, so I know who needs some extra coaching.
For multi-step questions, you can break up the questions into smaller chunks so that one question doesn't take 5 minutes. For example, if practicing systems of equations, you can ask for one variable first and one question. Then ask for the second variable. This also provides excellent scaffolding for the students and a great way for me to figure out where the hang-ups are.
Week 2 of this blogging initiative, and I've still yet to remember to take pictures. Any tips out there???