• Allison Felten

5 Check for Understanding Strategies that can be Done in 1 Minute or Less!

Updated: Jan 4, 2021



Teachers are asked to do a lot in a little amount of time. From managing disagreements, passing out papers, explaining directions, telling that one kid to "SNEEZE IN YOUR ELBOW", it can feel like there is very little time to actually teach and assess the impact. That is why it's critical for teachers to include formative assessments or checks for understanding. Gathering data on student understanding doesn't have to be a full-on test. It can be as simple as the following five strategies.


1. Example/Nonexample


Give a concept and have a student give an example or a non-example about it. This could be done verbally with the class, partners, or small groups, written in notes or on an index card.


Teacher: "What are example of Egyptian Gods?"

Students: "Isis, Amun, and Ra."

Teacher: "What are nonexamples of Egyptian Gods?"

Students: "Odin, Zeus, and Yan Wang"


2. Fill in your thoughts


Give the students a phrase where they have to fill in the blank.


Teacher: "To calculate speed you have to divide _____ by _____."

Student: "You have to divide distance by time."


3. Quick Writes


Give the students a question or prompt that they have a time limit to answer.


Prompt: "Use an adverb in a sentence."


4. 3-2-1


Give a concepts and have student hold a finger to show how well they understand it. This works best when the teacher has established a classroom culture where students feel comfortable enough to share how they feel.


3 - I completely get this

2 - I am a little confused

1 - I don't understand


5. Multiple Choice


Give students a question with multiple choice answers. Have students use fingers to show if answer 1, 2, 3, or 4 is correct.


Question: Who wrote, "Catcher in the Rye"?

1. George Orwell

2. J. D. Salinger

3. F. Scott Fitzgerald

4. Margaret Atwood

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