Iron Chef Slow Chat: Actively Learn and Formative

Hello there @informed_members and @Certified_Educators!

I’m Kate Baker, 9th grade ELA teacher from NJ. I flip my class using blended and flipped learning techniques in addition to running various professional development experiences as an Edmodo Certified Trainer and a part-time professional development consultant. One of my passions in online learning focuses on how students can become more proficient as digital readers (as opposed to digital scrollers).

For this Iron Chef activity, I am combining two of my favorite tools: Actively Learn and Formative. This is a simple “dish” but one that I hope you will be able to easily replicate and add to your menu of learning.

Actively Learn is a free, with premium features, platform where teachers create classes that students join to access text-based lessons that include embedded questions and instructional elements to check for understanding. You can use this with literature and nonfiction texts in any content area. Actively Learn has a vast catalog that is continually updated and you can upload your own texts and customize any instructional element in a text. Students and teachers must have accounts to use the platform as there isn’t a “guest” option.

Whereas the Actively Learn platform can be used to capture accurate reading comprehension by answering multiple choice and short answer questions in the text, the Formative can capture more creative and personal responses through the use of the Audio Response and Show Your Work question types.

Students can complete this Formative prior to reading the text or they can complete it at the conclusion of reading. The Formative is linked in the Actively Learn text at the end of the article in the last question as well as below. Formative can be used as an anticipatory set for reading or a follow up connection as an exit ticket.

Ok, so while I know I can make this work for me and my students, sharing this with you is a bit clunky as you have to have an Actively Learn account to make this work. I do wish there was an a more fluid way to package this for you to try it out.


If the Actively Learn embed in the Formative does not work for you, to access the article, join my Formative Practice Class in Actively Learn:

  • Go to, create a teacher account, then change your view to “Student Mode” and join this practice class using the code udyex.

You can also try accessing the article through this direct link:

Despite the clunkiness of onboarding of Actively Learn for those of you who are new to the platform, I do think this can be a way to do cross-curricular reading in various content areas beyond English class. I wish I could embed Formative in Actively Learn, but the platform does not allow me to do so. I only only attach links to the questions/notes.

I hope you see value in this “dish” and I would love to learn about other people’s ideas for combining Actively Learn and Formative. Do you have additional ingredients you would add?

Please share!



Love it! Actively Learn is by far one of my favoritism! @kbaker

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Sounds like the perfect ‘dish’ to ‘serve’ in side-by-side ‘proportions’ using the Extension/AddOn “TabResize.” Actively Learn on one side and the Formative on the other. Once they are side by side, students can toggle between full and half screen size if needed for easier reading.


Ooh! I like that idea!

I was trying to figure out how to have the Formative run concurrently with the text in Actively Learn instead of being positioned before or after the text.

Thanks for the added spice! :smiley:


Thank you! I did not know about actively learn - so this is a very exciting discovery. I’m looking forward to combining formative with actively learn!


That’s funny. I was trying to figure that out myself lol.


Wow, I never thought of combining the two!
Do you often do this(app-smashing) with your students?
My freshmen students last year were not happy if I expected them to use more than one website at a time for them for assignments.


Freshman are a special breed. :laughing: They tend to not like anything you want them to do. Seriously, I believe Freshman are having a mental growth spurt and it’s hard for them to handle multiple concepts at one time. It’s like their brain is switching between tabs, stopping and starting as they think. Add to that multiple tabs and they have overload. My Freshman didn’t like toggling between two sites, but they did like it when the video was embedded in the Formative. I will be using Formative to bring more resources ‘to the student’. I’ve decided to build a Formative for the day that has all the resources and assignments embedded for that day… including the other Formatives.

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