Hand SignalsSignals

A teacher can quickly assess the understanding of a concept by incorporating silent signals.

HandFist to Five

After presenting a lesson, a teacher can perform a quick formative assessment by asking students to use their hand signal to rate their level of understanding.

A fist = does not understand at all
1- 4 fingers = a certain level of understanding
5 fingers = understands

Teachers can call on "5 fingered" students to explain parts of the concepts learned to the class to keep them truthful in their self-assessment.

Thumbs Up - Side - DownThumbs Up - Side - Down

This formative assessment technique quickly allows the teacher to gauge the understanding of the learners in his/her classroom. After presenting a lesson, or part of a lesson, the teacher asks students to use their hand to signal their depth of understanding.

  • A thumbs up means “I have a good understanding.”
  • A thumb to the side means “I still have some questions.”
  • A thumb down means “I don’t get it.”

The teacher can readjust the next lesson or section of the lesson as needed based on student response. To hold students more accountable for their “truthfulness” the teacher can call on someone who signaled a thumb up to explain the concept to the class, or partner students who understand with those who don’t and let them teach each other for a few minutes.


Colored Cups

Colored Cups
Notice the traffic signal colors.  Teacher can work individually with students displaying red cups... have green cup students work with yellow cup students.

Popsicle Sticks

Popsicle™ Sticks
Student names on sticks in a jar.  Ask a question and pull out a stick where that student will answer.  Helps with the habitual hand raiser.

Mini Whiteboards

Mini Whiteboards
Quick way to check for understanding with math problems, vocabulary, or just a character that signifies "I Understand"
Whiteboard Tips

Response Cards

Response Cards
Same as cups, only with cards.  If you include white index cards too, they can be used as exit or admit tickets.