Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Transformation Tuesday: Assessment Strategies- Vocabulary Dominoes

For a blank copy, click here
Today's strategy is based an activity I recently learned about from Lead4ward. The activity is called "Vocabulary Dominoes". It's one of their high-yield instructional strategies because it allows teachers to provide instruction for specific standards-based content, as well as, stress the mathematical process/ practice standards. Used intentionally, this activity requires students to compare and contrast terms, as well as, look for, analyze, justify, and communicate about relationships. While I may blog about this activity for another "Transformation Tuesday," today's strategy will focus on the end result. 

Here's how this assessment tool works:

1. Program a set of vocabulary dominoes with content-specific math terms. See the picture at the right for an example. Note: I intentionally placed words whose relationships were easily identifiable on the same domino so that students have to explore other relationships.

Domino ends that touch show connections. 
2. Decide in advance whether you want students to create their own arrangement or if you will create one for them to use. Note: There are advantages to both approaches. The first approach allows you to gain knowledge regarding individual student's understanding of the terms; whereas the second method forces the students to make judgments and find relationships based on someone else's thinking. In addition, the second method may take less time because students will not need time to create their layout. 

3. If students are creating their own arrangement, provide them time to cut-out and arrange their dominoes based on the relationships they found between the words. If you are using a teacher-created arrangement, provide students think time to review the layout and placement of the words. 

4. Ask students to write 3 - 4 statements regarding the relationship of the terms based on the connections made. See the picture below for an example. 

5. Review the students' work to support your understanding of where you class is in the learning process and next steps for instruction. In addition, this activity makes for a great formative assessment tool and would fit well in a journal. 

Free Resource Alert: Download an editable copy of the "Vocabulary Dominoes" here. 
To use: Insert the image into a word document. Just add a text box with each word you want to add and place it in the center of each half of the domino. 

Share your thoughts, opinions, and experiences of this assessment tool in the comments section below. 


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