May 3, 2017

Plickers Assessment Magnets

A few months ago, I published a video/blog post in which I shared how I use Plickers and my Assessment Magnet system in my teaching for assessment purposes. If you haven't seen the video yet, here it is below (be sure to also check out the full blog post for additional examples of how I use these two tools in physical education).

A few weeks later, I shared how I combined this magnet system with my Mini-Coaching system and QR Jump Rope Cards in my jump rope unit to help students set goals, track progress and learn independently in P.E. class. Here's the Quick Look video I made to explain how this works:

After sharing the videos with the #physed community, I was super pumped to see how many teachers were excited about trying out the magnet system in their teaching!

Assessment Magnet Love

The Remix

One of the cool things about sharing your ideas online is that you never know how the idea will grow from what it once was. That said, one teacher in particular, Mike Ginicola of Connecticut, decided to try the Assessment Magnet system out in his own teaching:

Thanks to some of our pioneers, I'm getting closer to my vision of a meaningful #physed program. Magnets rock @JoeyFeith!

— Mike Ginicola (@PhysEdDepot) March 22, 2017

Mike then took things a step further in order to solve a problem with the original magnet system: the fact that it was hard to quickly track student magnets after each class (something that I was doing manually after my lessons).Mike reduced the Plickers card images until they were small enough to be placed on a magnet. By having these mini-Plickers assessment magnets, a teacher can simply scan the whiteboard at the end of a lesson to quickly log where each student's magnet was placed at the end of a lesson. Mike explains the whole idea in the video below (he also has a shared Google Drive folder in which he collects examples of different ways teachers have created Plickers Assessment Magnets):

I really liked Mike's remix of my Assessment Magnets and decided to try them out in my own teaching... but not before remixing them myself!

Remixing The Remix

Ok, so there were a few ways I thought I could improve Mike's Plickers Assessment Magnets (sorry Mike, I'll never be able to call them Plagnets ?).First off, one thing I really liked about the way I originally set up my magnets was how they were colour-coded (which made it easier for students to quickly find their magnet), so I wanted to bring that back. Second, I wanted to make it really easy for students to know which side of the Plickers code went up. Lastly, I want to make sure that the Plickers number was easy to read, regardless of what side was up (I know this is a small detail, but these are the kind of things that keep me up at night).Here's what I came up with:

Plickers Assessment Magnets Design

I recreated the Plickers code for a class of 63 and assigned colours to each group of 10: #01-10 are red, #11-20 are blue, #21-30 are purple, #31-40 are grey, #41-50 are green and #51-63 are orange.On the outside of the round magnet graphics (which I made to be just under 2" in diameter), I put the language and colours used in my Learning Roadmap rubrics. I figured this would make it as simple as possible for even my youngest students to know which side to place facing upwards. The language corresponds to the Plickers multiple choice options in this order: "Not Yet" is "A", "Getting There" is "B", "Got It" is "C" and "Wow" is "D". I know this may seem backwards, but there is a good reason for it: I try to get my students to understand that it is ok to not be perfect at something right off the bat, that learning is a journey that is unique to each person's experience and ability. Because of that, the codes are not set up from worst grade to best grade (i.e. "Not Yet" is a D, "Getting There" is a C, "Got It" is a B, and "Wow" is an A). Instead, they are set up as a simple progression, just like the kids' learning would be. The letters' order (ABCD) corresponds to the learning journey ("Not Yet" to "Getting There" to "Got It" to "Wow"). I know that doesn't make sense to everybody, but it makes sense to my students!I also made some new laminated, colourful label graphics for the four levels that are on the Learning Roadmaps.

Rubric Level Labels

Having the rubric levels text and colours on the outside edge of the graphic freed up some space for me to include each magnet's number on all four sides of the Plickers code, making it that much easier for a student to find their magnet.

Creating The Plickers Assessment Magnets

Mike had shared a few different ways that teachers had created magnets, most of which involved cutting out the codes and glueing/taping them to magnets. At first, my plan was to print out the magnets templates I had created on 2" Avery Round Labels. However, I was worried that the labels would get damaged through the wear and tear of teaching P.E. I also became obsessed with this idea of having the magnets templates made out of wood (don't ask me why... it just seemed like a nice idea!)After doing a bit of research, I found 2" wooden coins on Amazon (I think they're usually used to make jewellery/ornaments).The next obstacle was to figure out how to how to get the printed magnet graphics to stick to the wood coins in a way that a) was secure and b) would protect the printed graphic from becoming damaged over time.Quick story time: when we were kids, my brothers and I were really into WWE (née WWF) wrestling. This led to us wrestling a lot around the house. One day, during what must have been some kind of tooth brushing wrestling session, we broke the toilet tank cover in the bathroom (try explaining that one to your mom). My mom, being the artsy fartsy wonder woman that she is, somehow repaired the broken tank cover with glue, wallpaper and something called Mod Podge. It worked, and the toilet tank cover continues to exist to this day (which means this Mod Podge stuff must be pretty durable).And that is how I knew that Mod Podge might just be the perfect way to glue and protect the printed magnet graphics on the wooden coins![caption id="attachment_13165" align="alignnone" width="940"]

I'm not particularly fond of this photo, but I'm including it because my wife thought that it was hilarious that I decided to have a solo arts & crafts night. I like making her laugh, so here it is![/caption]Side note: I got the matte finish Mod Podge to avoid any reflections getting in the way of successful scans of the Plickers codes. This was recommended to me by the amazing art teacher at my school, who really needs to start her own blog! Also, for those of you who have never used Mod Podge before, here is the process I used: I put a coat of Mod Podge on the coin, place the Plickers cutout on top of the wet Mod Podge (which glues it to the coin), and then paint another coat of Mod Podge over the cutout (which seals it to the coin and protects it over time).As for the whole, you know, magnetic part of this project, I simply used a hot glue gun to glue my old magnets on the back of the wood coins. I'm telling ya, I busted out every art skill I've ever developed on these things!So, one arts & crafts session later, my Plickers Assessment Magnets were good to go! Here's how they look:

Where To Find The Plickers Assessment Magnets

If you'd like to try these magnets out in your own teaching, I'm making my Plickers Assessment Magnets graphics available for free on the Visuals page. I'm also including the rubric level graphics I shared above in that download. You can click the image below to go right to them.

Plickers Assessment Magnet Download

That's all for today. Special thanks again to Mike Ginicola for taking my original idea and making it better. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter! He has put together an awesome resource in which he has shared all of the variations of these magnets you may have seen floating around online. You can find that resource here: The PhysEd Depot - Plickers Magnets.Thanks for reading and happy teaching!

Joey Feith
Joey Feith is a physical education teacher based out of Nova Scotia and the founder of
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