UEN Teacher Tips


Using Nearpod's Draw-It Tool for Formative Assessment
Channeling Student Creativity to Gain Insight Into Their Comprehension
by Braxton Thornley

At this time of year, classrooms might feel less enthusiastic than at the beginning of the year. If you're looking for a quick way to bring back some energy, try using drawing as a formative assessment tool. Not only can students’ illustrations and diagrams provide important insights into their learning, but a growing body of research indicates that drawing can improve students’ engagement, vocabulary acquisition and understanding of key concepts and ideas. Nearpod's "Draw-It" tool is a great way to get started with integrating drawing into your lessons.


Here are five quick ideas—with examples—for utilizing Draw-It’s full potential: 

  • Drawing from Scratch: Fire up a blank Draw-It whiteboard and give your students a prompt. Here are a few examples:
    • Draw a canyon and a valley. Draw arrows pointing out key differences between the two.
    • Draw a frog at each stage of its lifecycle.
  • Labeling Sentences and Images: Type a sentence or upload an image onto a Draw-It whiteboard, then ask your students to mark, circle and label. You might give one of these tasks:
    • Draw arrows on the river indicating which direction the water flows.
    • Color the bicep on the diagram blue, the tricep green and the deltoid red.
  • Diagramming: Upload a T-Chart, timeline, or Venn Diagram as an image, or have students draw their own. Here are three things you might say:
    • Create a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting the characteristics of reptiles and amphibians.
    • Create a timeline of the American Revolution. Include at least five key events.
  • Draw the Missing Piece: Cover part of a map or diagram with a white circle or square and ask students to draw the missing element. This is what that might sound like:
    • Part of our equation’s graph is covered. Fill in the missing portion.
    • A piece of the car’s engine is missing from our diagram. Draw the missing piece.


Watch our 5-minute video to see how you can use Nearpod to bring life into your formative assessments.


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Braxton specializes in utilizing technology (Canvas LMS, Artificial Intelligence, Google Workspace suite) to personalize learning. He is enthusiastic about working with teachers one-on-one to create safe, organized, and engaging classrooms. Prior to joining UEN's professional development team, Braxton worked as a high school language arts teacher and digital teaching and learning coach in Jordan School District.

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