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Pre-Assessment Strategy: Brain Dump

Brain Dump is a formative assessment activity that allows students to share their knowledge and assumptions.

Brain Dump is a formative assessment activity that allows students to share their knowledge and assumptions.

Whether you need a pre-assessment or quick focus and review, Brain Dump will provide you with information about how much information your students know or have retained about a specific concept or topic. Ask students to either dump all information they know on a sheet of paper or orally with a partner or group. Ask students to share information with the group about what they already know or what they recall from the previous day. This “no pressure” activity is also a great way to spark interest as well as have students share their individual knowledge with the class.

The Brain Dump allows you to tailor your instruction to meet the students right where they are.  Use as a collaboration exercise to provide opportunities for students to use academic vocabulary and see each other as sources of wisdom.

Use Brain Dump the day before a test to assess what students know well or what they need to review.

About Heather Mullins

Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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