Skip Discover Education Main Navigation

Spotlight on Strategies:Reading between the lines

Display the answer to a question that relates to your topic. Students work together or individually to write questions that could match to the answer.

Big idea

Formative assessment can help teachers understand what students have learned as they progress through a unit of study. As a result, it's important to find creative, effective, and efficient ways to incorporate ongoing formative assessment. This strategy provides formative assessment data that can be used to guide teaching and intervention, planning and delivery. It's easy to implement, requires no preparation, and uses materials commonly found in most classrooms. Best of all, it works with students of many different ages!



large paper, white board or IWB, post-it notes, pen/pencil

  1. Determine a question related to the current unit of study, and write only the answer to that question on the board.
  2. Ask students to write questions that could match the answer on Post-it notes. Allow students to refer to notes or handouts, if necessary.
  3. Students should stick their questions to the board, surrounding the answer, or post digitally if using an online notice board.  Alternatively, students could write the answer in their books and list questions under or around it.
Sum it up

This strategy is an effective means of formative assessment, allowing a teacher to see what the students understand about a given topic. It is also a good springboard for classroom discussion when students are asked to justify the questions they are posting. Finally, it affords students an opportunity to practise formulating questions.

More ideas
  • Review details about a person, place, or thing.
  • Look at a character or setting of a book the class has read.
  • Practice number sense (write a number as the answer, and ask students to write equations to equal that number).
  • Summarise the "big idea" of a lesson or topic.

special thanks to Debra Leeson (Georgia, USA) for submitting this strategy.

Try another? Check out or view all.