Using Plickers in the Creative Arts Classroom

Plickers is a tool designed for teachers to be able to quickly assess pupils’ knowledge/understanding, making use of the latest technology. The Plickers site says:

Plickers is a powerfully simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices


As a trainee teacher of art, I have been looking for new ways to document my formative assessment of pupils (the majority of which is verbal) and Plickers seemed to be a great answer. I found the Plickers site easy to navigate and get set up, a little time consuming adding pupils names, sticking the codes into books etc but not too bad overall. I stuck the codes pupils use to answer questions into the back of their sketchbooks.

I have also been looking at ways to document pupils’ making a response to my feedback, and just to be clear, the documentation I need is for my teaching evidence file for standard 6: Make accurate and productive use of assessment:
 know and understand how to assess the relevant subject and curriculum areas, including statutory assessment requirements
 make use of formative and summative assessment to secure pupils’ progress
 use relevant data to monitor progress, set targets, and plan subsequent lessons
 give pupils regular feedback, both orally and through accurate marking, and encourage pupils to respond to the feedback.


As a Q&A style activity, I assumed that Plickers would work best where answers could be correct or incorrect, so I needed to find ways to apply the format to an art lesson. I decided to try a few approaches:

  1. Use as a target setting activity in a starter
  2. Use to measure progress in a plenary
  3. Use as a behaviour management tool
  4. Use to encourage independent learning
  5. Use to peer assess / level / grade work

I’ll run through and try to explain how I used each effectively.

1 & 2, using as a target setting activity in a starter then measuring progress in a plenary. I asked a question on the whiteboard related to the lesson outcomes, with four options of varying difficulty (good to see which pupils are aiming for higher levels / struggling). At the end of the lesson I looked at the results and chose pupils to respond to how they had met their targets.

Example: Year 8 are working on a textile project, some having difficulty threading a needle!

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I could then question at the end of the lesson to see which pupils managed to hit their targets etc. It also means I can clearly see which pupils are further behind / aiming for higher levels by using different stitches etc.

You can also differentiate by questioning:

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In this example pupils aiming for higher levels should have been trying a new stitch.

3 & 4. Using Plickers as a behaviour management tool and to encourage independent learning worked well with the class I tried it in. I’m going to try more classes and see what happens.

Example: I am aiming for my pupils to be more independent in this class. I asked the question at the start and explained that those pupils who hit their target would get a positive referral (merit) at the end of the lesson. Pupils responded well and they seemed to see the results as a formal statement, rather than a verbal agreement which they tend to forget about.

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Then again at the end of the lesson I could see what pupils thought of their effort levels. I’m going to use this as a starter next week to motivate pupils:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 20.40.18Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 20.40.24

5. Using Plickers to peer assess work is not something that I have tried yet – but aim to this week! I will insert a photo of pupils work in the question then get pupils to grade it using the lesson outcomes. This could be good for showing progress or boosting confidence as I can do it for one pupil at the start of the lesson then the same pupil again at the end to show how they have increased their level/made progress.

What do you think about using Plickers in the Creative Arts? Let me know in the comments. It seems excellent for subjects like science and maths, but I’m trying to apply it to art in as many ways as possible.

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