This month, Transformation Tuesday is featuring quick strategies to check for student understanding. Last week, I shared Exit Tickets with Understanding, my favorite strategy because its’ quick and easy to implement. Read about it here! Today’s strategy requires a bit more preparation, but it’s a powerful way to check for understanding and make decisions about the next steps in instruction.
“Sometimes, Always, or Never” is a strategy that I first learned about a year or so ago. I fell in love with this strategy from the first day that I learned about it and I have been using it and adapting it ever since. What I love most about this strategy is they way it makes students think. In order to be able to determine the correct response, students must consider all of their options. They must decide if the statement is sometimes true, always true, or never true. In order to do this, students must be able to select instances of and try to create a generalization for the concept. See the example below.
Note: For comparison, I thought it would be cool to show how to check for understanding in different ways using the same objectives. This way, you can evaluate how and when a strategy may best work for you and your students. With that said, I focus on the first objective again this week.
1. Post the lesson objectives in specific, kid-friendly language. (See the picture to the right.)
2. Give each student a small slip of paper or an index card.
3. Create a statement, based on the lesson objections, to which students can respond with “sometimes,” “always,” or “never.” Note: Responding in writing will certainly boost all of the students’ critical thinking skills, but creating a statement with a “sometimes” response really gives you a more comprehensive picture of your students’ progress toward understanding the learning objective.
4. Ask students to respond to the statement with “sometimes true,” “always true,” or “never true” and give a justification in pictures, words, or numbers.
Sound Off! How could you use this strategy with your own students?