No Series: Making It Click: Assessment with Technology

Making It Click: Assessment with Technology

Lesson Objective: Frequent assessment using clickers provides valuable information
Grade 9 / Math / Assessment
14 MIN


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. What strategies does Ms. Hochgrebe use to foster whole class engagement?
  2. How does an immediate review of clicker data help students learn from mistakes and build confidence?
  3. How does frequent reference to a learning map help students structure their learning?


  • Private message to Nancy Dunlap
Great idea for an informal assessment technique that engages the entire class. It also gives the teacher immediate information on every student, not just the one who always raises his/her hand!
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  • Private message to Patrcia Mesch
It does give every students a chance to answer the question.
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  • Private message to April Hawthorne
What is the company that made the clickers?
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  • Private message to Lance Piantaggini
Also, I would recommend Socrative (2.0!) for a much more user-friendly interface. Results can be sent to a Google spreadsheet as well.
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  • Private message to Lance Piantaggini
Sophia, there should be a ton of helpful videos on how to create a Google's very intuitive and simple to recreate once you've done in once or twice. I think my point is that even an hour or two learning how to create one results in huge savings. I could help with any Q's. "Those iPods and iPhones" - a provoking comment that might best not be played out on here, but I am compelled to speak my mind since I hear moot arguments concerning iPhones from teachers everywhere. Frankly, it's a loosing, no, LOST battle. Instead of ignoring the problem (such as avoiding Sex Ed), we need to inform and teach students HOW to use them appropriately. When it comes to these devices, "control" is the wrong word/policy. We're not talking about handheld "gameboys" or "psp's" - students get MOST of their information from an iPhone, if they have one...these devices are "ways of living" at this point. In a classroom focused on learning, students won't have the opportunity to misuse technology any more than they would be when distracted by classmates, staring out the window, or whatever else kids have been doing since who-knows-when. Furthermore, in a classroom that actually promotes their use, you will find less ABuse. We should admit this hard truth...teachers unable to incorporate smartphones into their class or teach the etiquette concerning them, is simply behind the times, unprepared to relate to today's youth/mainstream society,, and not current with classroom management strategies. Time to reflect.
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  • Carrie Hochgrebe:: [0:17] Good morning. [0:17]

    Interviewer: [0:17] Today instructional expert Jim Knight will explore the benefits of Carrie Hochgrebe’s use

    Carrie Hochgrebe:: [0:17] Good morning. [0:17]

    Interviewer: [0:17] Today instructional expert Jim Knight will explore the benefits of Carrie Hochgrebe’s use of clickers for a review lesson, as well as discuss the uniqueness of the freshman center where Carrie is enjoying her ninth year as a math teacher. [0:30]

    Interviewer: [0:32] This is a pretty unique school so why don’t you tell me something about what this school is like. [0:36]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [0:36] Well, the school it’s a freshman center. So it’s all freshman in this building. [0:40]

    Interviewer: [0:40] Every kid? [0:41]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [0:41] Every kid. We have almost 1,200 ninth graders all in one building, which in and of itself is very unique. They come from four middle schools, and they all come together. Then from here, they go to two separate high schools. So this is the only year that every kid in that same grade level is all in the same building at once. [0:59]

    [0:59] Counselors, teachers, everybody, principals are focusing just on those freshman. I know our failure rate has dropped significantly in our district. [1:06]

    Interviewer: [1:07] How often do you meet then with the other math teachers? [1:10]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [1:11] We have lunch together most days. That’s really when we do a lot of talking. On Tuesday mornings, we have collaboration time. It’s about 40 minutes of collaboration time that we get a chance to talk. [1:20]

    Interviewer: [1:21] Let’s say today’s lesson the kids really were coming up against problems with slope. Would you go back to them and say, my kids just didn’t get— [1:28]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [1:28] Oh yeah. [1:28]

    Interviewer: [1:29] How do you deal with that? [1:29]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [1:29] Absolutely. [1:30]

    Interviewer: [1:30] Yeah. So how important is that? [1:33]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [1:33] Oh, it’s crucial. I mean if you don’t reflect as a teacher, you don’t ever grow. [1:36]

    [1:38] Alright. Numbers one through twelve, we’re gonna do two points a piece, one for showing your work and one for the correct answer. For number 13, guys, the five points come into play. One for having the equation, one for the x intercept, one for the y intercept, one for they asked if you had 15 pounds of hamburger, how much chicken would you have? So one for having the 10 pounds of chicken, and one for your graph. Grab your clickers. [2:06]

    Interviewer: [2:12] Let’s talk first about those clickers and just tell me how it works and how you use them and why you use them. [2:18]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [2:18] I usually use them when I’m reviewing concepts. To me it’s not very beneficial to start a new concept with the clickers cuz’ the kids wouldn’t know what they were doing yet. It gives me a good idea if the students are meeting those benchmarks and what things they’re understanding, what things they’re not understanding. [2:32]

    [2:33] It also helps me when I’m walking around the room because then I can see their papers. I can see their work and what mistakes they are making if they’re making those mistakes. [2:40]

    [2:41] We’re gonna write an equation in point slope form that contains the point of negative 1/5 and the slope of four. Three seconds. Give it your best shot. Alright. Correct answer here should be B, which most of us are doing phenomenal with this. [3:01]

    [3:02] If you chose C, be careful that you use the y value for that y minus that number. This should be y y value here. My x value should be with the x term. [3:11]

    Interviewer: [3:11] Would you say today was a typical day when you do this kind of— [3:14]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [3:14] When we do clickers, yeah. [3:15]

    Interviewer: [3:16] Right, because they were pretty much all engaged. Like it was like if you calculated time on task, it must have been 95 percent. I didn’t really see anybody not engaged unless they were done the task. Is that what it was like six years ago? [3:28]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [3:29] Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t know. Sometimes you forget about those days. I’d say for the most part kids are usually engaged when they understand what’s going on. [3:40]

    Interviewer: [3:40] Right. So when you look on the screen of your— [3:44]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [3:45] On my tablet. [3:45]

    Interviewer: [3:46] You can tell which kids get it right and which kids get it wrong? [3:49]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [3:49] Yeah. It has either an x or a little checkmark depending if they’re getting it right or wrong. I can scroll through and see all those kids right there, which is a great tool, and it tells me the percent they are getting it correct. So I can just kind of quickly look and see okay, most of the kids are getting this. Then I can scroll through to see which kids aren’t. [4:03]

    [4:04] Alright, next one. The cost of downloading music from is $2 plus an additional 50 cents per song. We’re gonna write an equation that models this problem. What would the cost for 12 songs be? We’re gonna write just the generic equation, and we’re gonna go ahead and we’re gonna figure out what the cost would be for 12 songs. [4:26]

    [4:31] My goal in my class is always to find ways to get every kid—making sure that every kid is learning and every kid is understanding. This is a perfect way to do that. It’s a great way for me to be able to see. [4:40]

    [4:41] I can always look at those reports later to remember what questions they were getting, what things they weren’t, but it’s a great way for me to see the whole class and not just a couple of kids. [4:47]

    Interviewer: [4:48] Do the scores count towards their grade at all, what they do with the clickers? [4:52]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [4:53] It depends on what I’m doing with them. For this one, I wouldn’t count it against them if they didn’t get it because I’m quizzing them on Monday. So I’ll see what they’re understanding or not understanding at that point. [5:02]

    [5:03] Alright, correct answer here should have been C. Now as I was walking around, I noticed a lot of us are doing a good job with finding the slope. That’s definitely not our concern. A lot of us are even doing a great job in point slope form. A lot of our mistakes are coming from just silly little math errors. [5:18]

    [5:18] Really the beneficial tool with is giving all the kids a chance to answer, which is one really nice thing about the clicker too. Every kid gets to answer. It’s not just one dominating your conversation of your room, but every kid gets a chance to answer. [5:31]

    [5:31] Every kid’s voice is heard in class. Then I can actually go over it. So those kids who were missing, we can make sure that we get any of those misconceptions figured out. [5:39]

    Interviewer: [5:40] I saw there was a point there. I’ll just show you the clip if I can find it. [5:43]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [5:44] Well, we know it’s gonna cost us what? [5:46]

    Child Voice: [5:46] Two dollars plus an extra 50 cents. [5:49]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [5:49] Two dollars plus an extra 50 cents for the second song. So it’s $2, plus we said 50 cents for the first song, 50 cents for the second song. [5:56]

    Interviewer: [5:58] If she’s not getting it, what can you do? I’m asking a tough question. [6:02]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [6:02] Yeah. Well, that’s where I was kinda just trying to talk her through the problem. I was trying to get her to see because it was a slope intercept question. So I was trying to get her to realize the slope is the same thing as rate of change. The y intercept is the initial amount. [6:13]

    [6:13] So I was starting off by trying to get her to find the slope. I said so what’s the thing that’s changing each time? She couldn’t come up with that. So I said, okay. Well, what do you know you have to pay always? Two dollars. Okay, great. So let’s start with that. [6:26]

    [6:26] You know you have to pay— [6:27]

    Child Voice: [6:28] Two dollars. [6:28]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [6:29] You have to pay $2. You have to pay $2, but you also have to pay 50 cents per song. [6:34]

    Interviewer: [6:34] Now one of the things I was wondering is what would you have done if you didn’t have the clickers? Could you do the same thing or are they pretty much essential now? [6:42]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [6:43] Well, I could have done the same thing. I wouldn’t have known what every single kid was answering. In the past, I’ve also used many white boards in the classroom. I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve stopped using them because they’re so disgusting because we’ve used them so much. The kids don’t like using them as much as the clickers anymore. [6:57]

    [6:58] Alright, next one. Which of the following is in standard form? Thinking back to what we did yesterday, standard form. Standard form looks like it would be? D. Most of us got that, okay. [7:10]

    [7:10] Now what’s wrong with C? Why is that not in standard form because we do have all the variables to one side, all the constants to the other, but what’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with it? Go ahead. [7:21]

    Child Voice: [7:21] You can’t have a fraction. [7:22]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [7:22] You cannot have a fraction, right. [7:24]

    Interviewer: [7:25] There are many schools in the country that have smart boards, promethean boards, other forms of technology, clickers that never get out of the box, but you did it. I mean you got the thing going. You got it working extremely well. You’re just fluid in the way you use it. Why is it you did it and other people don’t do it? [7:42]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [7:43] For some people, I think it’s comfort level with technology. I do think that’s a big part of it. If they’re not comfortable with the technology, then they’re gonna feel awkward when they use it with the kids. [7:51]

    [7:51] A lot of teachers also are nervous about starting to use it in front of their students because they don’t want to look stupid in front of their kids. I think that sometimes it takes getting over that and thinking that I have to be the expert in every single thing. [8:04]

    [8:04] Now here’s the tricky one. What is the point? [8:06]

    Child Voice: [8:10] Negative six one. [8:10]

    Child Voice: [8:10] Negative five. [8:10]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [8:12] Close. It’s a positive 6 would be the x value and a negative one. Don’t forget we’re subtracting. [8:21]

    [8:21] Now I really want to make sure that every student is understanding before I move on, but I know that in reality I don’t have time to stop and wait for every single kid, every single time, especially when I have a classroom of 30 kids. [8:36]

    [8:36] The clickers are nice because of I can put a question up, and then I can roam. I even do that when I teach a lot. I’ll put a question up. If it’s something that I’ve taught, I’ll let them work on it, then I can make my way around the room to make sure that they’re getting it, but there’s kids that still aren’t gonna get every single concept. [8:50]

    [8:52] I haven’t quite figured out, and I don’t know if there is a magical answer, but a way to make sure that every kid is understanding before we move on because there’s so much content. [9:00]

    Interviewer: [9:00] Right. Well, and you haven’t really got a choice about that. [9:04]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [9:04] Yeah. [9:04]

    Interviewer: [9:04] Right. I always say that to teach is to feel guilty because if you’re really a good teacher, you never want to say I’m okay with 95 percent passing. You always want 100 percent mastery every kid to achieve. You can’t let that goal go. At the same time, it might be an impossible goal, but you never want to admit it’s an impossible goal. You want to say I want 100 mastery all the time. [9:33]

    [9:33] So that means you go home at night feeling guilty, but it’s better to feel guilty than to lie to yourself about what’s happening because the real reward of teaching is knowing that I’m getting better and better. I’m getting more and more kids mastering it. [9:45]

    [9:46] It would seem to me your biggest challenge would be time. Are there ways in which you can structure in cushion time for small group activities or you can sort of differentiate where you say okay, well, we can leave 10 minutes for some alternate activity for some and work with others, but you’d have to work that out with your colleagues probably. [10:05]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [10:05] Right. Well and especially with algebra when there is so much content. I mean we have 12 chapters in our textbook, and we cover them all. When we made our pacing guides, you realize that you’re doing a new concept pretty much every day. [10:18]

    [10:20] Some concepts are a little bit easier than others. On those days, yeah, you do have a little more time that we could probably structure some different activities in there, but there’s a lot of times where you’re just go, go, go, go, go. [10:30]

    Interviewer: [10:31] Right, because the trouble with math is, in my experience, if you fall behind, it’s a little scary and can I catch up. [10:37]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [10:38] Absolutely, because everything builds. [10:38]

    Interviewer: [10:39] Right. Just as I was watching, I was thinking about this. I just wonder what you would think, if it would be helpful to the kids. So we create these things called learning maps. The idea is we integrate the unit around the map. [10:50]

    [10:50] So every day the class begins with let’s review where we were. Then as you add new stuff, you end the class with okay, let’s see what we’ve added. By the end of the unit, they’ve looked at this thing so many times that— [11:04]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [11:04] That they see the connections. [11:06]

    Interviewer: [11:06] Right. They can actually almost visualize it in their head cuz’ they can see how all the pieces—and you line. You label the lines using proportions and representing data by solving proportions, by understanding probabilities, by using measures, by using appropriate graphs. So what do you think about that? [11:22]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [11:22] Oh, I think that’s great. I really like that you would show that every day. I’ve done a concept flow with my kids several years ago, and it was a one time shot. I didn’t really see how it benefitted the students, but this would definitely make it. [11:36]

    Interviewer: [11:37] Well, you know what’s cool is it gives you a sense of what everything is gonna entail. So at the end you’ve got this map and they’ve seen it every day. What it is it’s like a living syllabus. Rather than just giving them a little— [11:50]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [11:50] That’s a good way to say it. [11:50]

    Interviewer: [11:50] A living study guide. Rather than giving them a study guide at the end, they have it all laid out. They won’t know what these things are. [11:56]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [11:56] Right. You leave them blank until you get to that concept with your kids then or you even put those up to show them what’s coming up for the chapter? [12:03]

    Interviewer: [12:03] Day one, I show them the big parts. [12:06]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [12:06] Okay, then you wait to put them all. [12:08]

    Interviewer: [12:08] As it progresses, as we add something, as we add measure of central tendency—and it’s nice to have it laid out that this is the first thing we’re gonna do, this is the next, this is the next, this is the next, but it doesn’t always work that way. [12:17]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [12:18] Right. I like the visual for students cuz’ I know that kids are really visual. A lot of times I’ll tell them okay guys, this is what we’ve—we’ll have that conversation in class, but the visual I think would be a good help. [12:28]

    Interviewer: [12:28] Well, the thing is too, let’s say you’re a guy who missed two days—had missed mode and quartile and interquartile range. You can say, okay, I want you to team up with a partner. Everybody look at where you are. [12:38]

    [12:38] I want you to review these things. Joshua, you weren’t here for it so you’re with Allison. She’s gonna tell you what those things are. Everyday they see it and everyday they kind of put it together. [12:47]

    [12:47] Then you’ve got this structure. Now how you do it is up to you. It could be highly [inaudible 12:52], it could be all direct instruction, but they’ve got a pattern of structure for what they do. [12:56]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [12:56] Sure. Honestly, when people say, oh, you should use a concept flow with your students, I think I want to know how and why it’s beneficial before I’m gonna start using it with my kids. That’s a great way to use it. [13:07]

    Interviewer: [13:05] Yeah. Well, it’s just cuz’ it gives them something to stick everything else to. They can see the process as they go through the process. It becomes a tool for review everyday. [13:14]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [13:15] Alright. You guys feeling pretty good about this stuff? Are we feeling better after today? Do me a favor, go ahead and power down your clickers. You can go ahead and put that away for me. [13:24]

    Interviewer: [13:25] What I love about doing this work is to see different people do different things. Today I saw so many cool things. I love the technology. The technology was great, but the best part was your energy, just your positive way with the kids. It’s inspiring. I’m really grateful that we got a chance to be here. [13:40]

    Carrie Hochgrebe: [13:38] Good. Thank you. Alright, well, thank you for coming. [13:42]

    [End of Audio]

School Details

Freshman Center - G. Baker Bldg.
2103 Northwest Vesper Street
Blue Springs MO 64015
Population: 1174

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Carrie Hochgrebe


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