Tracking Tools: Assess & Celebrate Learning
Lesson Objective: Encourage active participation by tracking student learning
All Grades / All Subjects / Participation

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Wessling use the thumbs up assessment to inform her teaching?
  2. How do these tools give both students and teachers feedback?
  3. What can you learn from Ms. Wessling about encouraging active participation?
When students present their project reports (Poster or Power Point) all the other students have a form to record the title, presenters, format, 3 key ideas, what they liked about the presentation personal application. This written feedback keeps them attentive and leads to many more questions at the end of the presentation. When they turn in the completed form it counts as a quiz. I also take digital photos of the presentations to use in introducing the project the next year.
Recommended (1)
In reference to David White's post, yes, I have done something similar to how you have students write 3 key ideas about fellow students' power points. When my students give speeches, I have them write the other students' names, speech title, 2 good points and something that they could improve. I also like the teachers's idea in the clip of snapping fingers in reference to an enjoyable moment in the classroom.
Recommended (0)
I love this simple, yet quiet way for students to communicate understanding. Provides shy students an avenue of expression and keeps extroverts & over-achievers from excessive vocalizing.
Recommended (0)
This is a great idea. I was a bit appalled when she said she records 15minutes! I would personally record no more than 1 minute. However, it's a lot easier and more can be said in one minute than writing the same text. I also teach online classes for Masters of Ed students where I think this technique is a no-brainer.
Recommended (0)
I like it!Great immediate feedback for teacher. No need to move on until students fully understand concept.
Recommended (0)


  • Transcript: Tracking Tools: Assess & Celebrate Learning – with Sarah Brown Wessling

    Interviewer: Students can participate in a classroom in a

    Transcript: Tracking Tools: Assess & Celebrate Learning – with Sarah Brown Wessling

    Interviewer: Students can participate in a classroom in a variety of ways. Certainly we see kids participating by raising their hand or turning to another student, and talking to them when they’re prompted and sometimes when they’re not prompted.

    I also like to really reward some of the moments that we see in the class as unique, as special, they’re kind of light bulb moments. I’ll start snapping at moments that are interesting to me.

    Good job, in true coffee house style we got to snap.

    Or when I hear a student just phrase something in an interesting way or in a great way, and the students pick up on it.

    Interviewee: I mean what society kind of creates as the reality in itself.

    Interviewer: The thumbs up is another way for me to gauge where they’re at.

    When something is making sense for you, will you give me the thumbs up? Or if you start to get totally confused, I’ve just done something that totally messes you up, give me the thumbs down.

    Especially with my sophomores, at the beginning of the year, they’re a little timid. They’re not quite sure what this whole high school thing is about. Sometimes it’s cool to look disinterested.

    So let’s start with giving me some thumbs up, thumbs down or somewhere in the middle. Worked, everything was fine, did not work? So if the thumbs are down or in the middle is it because of video problems?

    This is a way for me to get that feedback, are you getting it, are you not?

    Are we doing okay so far? Do I get thumbs up so far? No confusion, fabulous.

    So thumbs up, yep, I’m with you. Thumbs down, no, I’m not. Sometimes we do thumbs to the side and that let’s me know, “I am somewhere in between.”

    Can you give me the thumbs up if this makes sense? All right, wonderful. What’s really key about this then is when there’s time for me to walk around the classroom or they’re doing some work, I know that the kids who are going like this or the kids who are going like this, they’re signaling me to come in and talk with them first.

    [End of Audio]

School Details

Johnston Senior High School
6501 Nw 62nd Ave
Johnston IA 50131
Population: 1541

Data Provided By:



Sarah Brown Wessling
English Language Arts / 10 11 12 / Teacher



All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture