Monday, May 11, 2009

Quick Assessment Tip for Centers

As the busy end of the school year approaches, it's easy to get caught up in trying to fit in the most important lessons before you run out of time. (Yes, this time of year is enough to make you feel like you have a bobble head.) Just remember that you're also winding down the school year as a whole. (Whew!) It's even more important to take a big-picture view of the year's successes for each individual child.

When you're looking over each child's accomplishments, include in their portfolios some informal anectodal assessment notes from the very end of the year. That's when kids really shine and show all they've learned! One easy way to do informal assessment is to use your centers.

First, you can pull students aside during center time and do one-on-one assessments. Another option is to just observe students doing center activities. (The observation option is SUPER SIMPLE yet still tells a true story of what the child knows! So if you're out of energy this time of year, don't feel guilty about taking the observation route.) Take anecdotal notes on index cards, sticky notes or a notepad during observations or one-on-one meetings.

Many teachers prefer to use a notepad with line-ruled or grid pages. Then, you can just dedicate each page to a different student. On each line of the notepad, note the date and what the student knows. Sample entry: “5/21/09: While using magnetic letters, Megan knows letter names and initial sounds for a, n, p, b, r and t. She can also build a C-V-C word and track simple words with her finger as she tries to read them.” (Wow! Yes, you can observe all this and more during just one activity!)

For quick reference, keep these notes alphabetized by the child’s last name within the notepad. Then, specific notes will be easy to find when you're ready to place them into each child's portfolio in the next couple of weeks. (Easy, easy, easy--oh, yeah!)

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