I hope you are ready for Chapter 2 of this amazing book study.
I loved the intro chapter, but I really loved reading all the posts from you guys about the chapter. It really brings it to life and makes it real!
I wanted to host this chapter for a few reasons.
1. This baby is coming soon and I wanted to make sure I got my turn in and got a chance to interact with your guys!
2. I HATE assessments and I think sometimes… a lot of the time… we over do it. We work ourselves too hard for no reason. I don’t mind assessments that are valid, that are done for a reason, and that are USED, not stored in a data base somewhere. And I like to make assessments fun for my kids.
3. I think we need assessments that actually HELP our students and ourselves. Otherwise, we are assessing to assess.
Things to think about…
1. What do you use for your assesmments:
I start each year with a baseline assessment my county provides. It gives me a snapshot of my students and gives them a score that is used to determine if they need additional assistance in K. EIP (Early Intervention Program) is our term. I love it because it is quick, simple, and most importantly allows me to talk with each child one on one. I ask them SO MUCH more than the questions on the assessment. I want to know their parents names, their siblings’ names, if they have pets, who they live with, what they did last night, you know… I want to have a conversation with each one.
I assess letters, numbers, shapes, counting, etc… within the first 10 days… and those scores help me to generate small groups for reading. I also start doing pull out for students who do not have the basic skills in math.
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Here is an assessment I use to give as a second nine weeks assessment for Thanksgiving! I make it FUN by having my students EARN their colored Indian feathers for their headbands. THEY LOVE THIS. It means something to them and then I can send the sheet home to parents as well.
I have to assess students every 4.5 weeks for progress reports and report cards, but I actually assess students informally ALL THE TIME. I look for them to show me what they know in small groups, during math stations, at calendar time, and esp at center time. I use these moments to assess, even though they may not be aware.
All my assessments are kept in a big binder. Each student is numbered and their information is kept behind their number tab. BUT… I also keep a grid of student info in my lesson plan book to glance at when I am making plans. I need to know if the class know shapes, how many of them still need assistance building shapes, etc. I don’t’ want to pull out the BIG binder for all that, so a glancing grid is perfect for that.
(Sorry- all pictures are in my classroom at school!)
I do not assess sight words early in the year. I like to start assessing them around October but before Thanksgiving Break at the latest. This allows the light bulb to turn on.
Once I start the sight word assessment, my kids NEVER want me to stop… they LOVE it.
Here is what I do. (Yeah, I have some pics of this one!)
First, I gather all my supplies in a basket. Each student gets a list in the basket that only I can check. I send home their own lists and I put a list in their book boxes as well.
I use the different colors to mark the date and words they gain that time and write them on the front… instant data that is GREAT for IEP, EIP, and RTI meetings.
I like to level the sight word lists according to where they are. Since we used Fry words last year, I made packs for the lists. Each pack comes with a list, worksheets with those words on them, and flashcards to work on. If a student is stuck on a word, I could pull out that worksheet and have them work on that specific word. They loved it. (And so did I!)
I made these packs for the first 300 words. I am working on a Dolch list now.
My kids loved progressing to the next level and getting a new sight word book.
I also use their journals for writing samples as well as their end of the year scrapbooks because I place a writing sample from each month into these. For me, writing samples are the easiest to assess.
Running Records are my weakest area… because I am so informal about it. I keep my running records in the assessment binder but I usually “know” from my interactions with them where they stand on this. Using the CAFE structure is allowing me to grow in this area.
I LOVE using books and literature for reading and Daily 5. I actually make TONS of literacy packs and mini units all about books. I provide a game and writing prompts at least in these packs. Some come with sequencing cards and additional activities. I also provide small readers for students in some. We work all week on the activities and book, then the absolute HIGHLIGHT of their week is playing the reading comprehension game.
We play at least one game a week, so I KNOW how much or little the class is comprehending from the books we read. I also KNOW what they understand and don’t. Do I always write this down??? Nope… but I easily can. If I have a student who is struggling with this area, I keep track of the correct and incorrect answers using the games. Again, this is instant data. I add the date and the name of the game to it and make a graph of their progress for EIP, IEP, and RTI paperwork. If they are struggling with it, but make great gains, I keep that data in their binder.
Here is an example of my If You Take a Mouse to School pack that I use in the beginning of the school year.
I feel that these games are a much more age appropriate way to assess reading comprehension and my kids LOVE it.
I also read with my students multiple times a week. I am checking for their ability to read, understanding of letters and sounds, phonics rules, and the use of sight words, tracking text, and comprehension. This is when I work on strategies with my kids one on one.
When you finish your assessments, how will you use that info to group students?
My grouping in the beginning of the year is pot luck, mix and mingle, let’s learn each other. After baselines are done, I love to ability group my kids. BUT the groups are flexible and are subject to change. I never make a group of just my low babies, I like to mix them up and pair them with a higher, helpful child. I also have to separate behavior problems AND put together students who help each other soar. I like to group students based on their need and their level as well… so it is always a work in progress until the actual student choice aspect of Daily 5 comes into play.
Will you use comprehension interviews? If Not, then how will you check for understanding?
Since I use the reading comprehension games and activities to assess understanding, I do not use comprehension interviews. I am interested in reading about if and how you guys use reading comprehension interviews in Kindergarten.
Link up below and read away!
Link up below and read away!
I can’t wait to see how you guys cover assessment in your classrooms.