As teachers we’re always looking for great ways to check student understanding, whether its gauging prior knowledge at the start of a new unit, or checking on progress as you move towards the end of one its always helpful to know where your students are at. The tricky bit is finding ways to do that which are authentic (they give you useful information) but which are also engaging for students. Like may of you, I use a bunch of different tools for this, but one of my favourites has to be Kahoot.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Emma Wheatley and published with kind permission.
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Kahoot is a free to use website where teachers build multiple choice quizzes. The quizzes are then played live in the classroom, with questions displayed on the board using a projector, and students answering using their own tech (laptops, tablets, smart phones – whatever your school works with). You’re going to need a decent internet connection here (strong enough to support multiple devices) but you can reduce the number by playing in teams (more below).
It’s pretty simple to build your quiz, although it is worth noting that a large part of the on screen display is the image. If you don’t add one the site will do it for you which is fine – but for primary kids they make huge connections between what they can see and what they are thinking about. As such, you are going to want to pick those images yourself, or risk a class full of distract kids!
For teachers, the link you need is: https://getkahoot.com
For students, you’ll want them to head to: https://kahoot.it
From your account you need to hit play, and then you’ll get a screen to project with the join code for your students.
You can now choose to play with students as individuals or in teams (we will often play in pairs), if you are looking for assessment data at the end of the unit you may want go for individuals, if you want to boost learning then collaboration may be the way forward. Teams/pairs are also useful if your tech situation is limited, or if your class is not very tech accomplished.
After the quiz is completed you get a spreadsheet (downloadable) of info on who got which question right or wrong as well as overall totals for each player/team and each question. This is were its value as a formative assessment tool really shines through. You can easily check student understanding and differentiate accordingly, but you can also highlight areas of whole class strength or weakness. I’ve used it a few times as a way to gauge prior knowledge, giving me a better understanding of what my students can already do and where we need to go next, it also helps me to plan interventions and extensions for those students at either end of the ability scale in my class. It can also be used to check progress and understanding mid-way or towards the end of unit/lesson sequence. This will help you to know to what extend each child has met their learning objectives.
If you’re at all like me, you may find it tough at first to set things up in a multiple choice format since its not always the way we frame questions, but here are a few ideas I’ve used which worked really well:
- Telling time: show a clock in the image and make each possible answer a different time
- Reviewing operations: pretty simple one here – save the question as an image (use paint) and students select the answer
- Living vs. Non-Living: show an image of something which is living, non-living or used to be living and have these labels as your possible answers
- Spelling recognition: show an image and provide different spellings to select from (must then be something clearly conveyed in an image) OR save the word as an image (again, use paint) and then offer correct or incorrect as possible answers
- Literacy: Provide cloze sentences (missing words) and students must select the best word to complete the sentence
- Reading comprehension: after a class read put up some comprehension questions to run through
I should warn you, students LOVE Kahoot. Which is half the point of course, but just be prepared for plenty of requests to use it again, and for a significant rise in classroom volume as the competition heats up! In my classroom we have ‘silent celebrations’ to encourage the excitement without destroying the class next doors’ working conditions. Just FYI, our silent celebrations usually involve dancing and arm waving.