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Instruction Ideas and Activities: Assessment

Creative activities RIO librarians use in library instruction

Snowballing - Ruth Szpunar

Snowballing: Have student write questions about the library on a piece of paper. Then all crumble and throw into the middle of the room. They all go and pick one up, and then read the one they have now out loud, librarian answers.

Questions - Ruth Szpunar and David Dunham

At the start of class, pass out index cards and ask each student to write a question they have about the library. Usually, they will ask questions you were already going to answer, so you can hold up the card when you answer that question. This exercise almost always yields great questions whose answers are useful for the entire class. This is a great activity for a class without a true "library" assignment.

Alternatively, use a Google Form for student questions. The Google Form allows the questions to be easily put into Excel. Outcomes included: being able to mention and address questions that he hadn’t thought of, establishing a rapport with the class, good class discussion, and students feeling a sense of ownership of their questions.

More resources from PALNI

Jeopardy - Teresa Williams

At the end of a class session, I tell everyone that I want to assess what they have learned over the hour, and I ask them to put away their notes and laptops.  As you can imagine, they freak out a bit because they think I am about to give them a pop quiz!  Well I am—but in Jeopardy format!

I then bring up an image that says “This is Jeopardy!” and the students immediately understand what’s going on.  They relax a bit, and their competitive side kicks in.  Butler business students complete many research projects in groups, and they often present their findings to a panel of business professionals.  So they love the idea of competing in a game.

The students sit in four teams, and each team has a buzzer with a different sound (car horn, bell ringing, etc.).  Anyone on the team can hit the buzzer to provide an answer.  The categories include topics discussed in class and research resources.  The final Jeopardy question asks for the due date of the semester project (most students don’t know this even though it is on the assignment guidelines).  All of the regular Jeopardy rules apply—provide answer in the form of a question, choosing categories, points, etc.  The team that wins receives a small prize and sometimes the professor will award extra credit points to the winning team. 

There are several Jeopardy templates out there.  I use a free one from JeopardyLabs:  It doesn’t have the option of adding a Final Jeopardy question, so I just type it up in Word or Powerpoint and display on the screen.  I searched websites for K-12 educational resources to find the buzzer set. I purchased the buzzer set from  Here’s the link to the product:

And here’s the link to the most recent Retail Jeopardy game I used this semester: