Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back 2 School - Assessment

I'm linking up again with Mrs. D's Corner and Miss V's Busy Bees to talk about more Back to School goodness.  Last week we talked about Behavior Management, this week we are talking about assessment.  This is probably one of my least favorite things to talk about, and I almost skipped this week.  However, it IS an important part of our job, so I decided to go ahead and try to write about it.

A lot of what we have to do is told to us by the distric.  We have benchmark assessments, unit assessments, DRA2, etc.  We also have rubrics that are used for each standard.  Actually, we don't call them rubrics anymore, they are "learning progression scales".

Since there is so much we HAVE to do a certain way, I thought I'd share a couple of the ways I assess students informally.  I feel like you find out so much about students, just by watching them, talking to them, and listening to them.  I hate to admit that when I first started teaching, I kept a lot of these observations in my head.  I now know that it's actually pretty important to write them down.  One, I'm getting older and can't remember as well, and two, it's nice to have proof to back up what you say.

Here are a few things that I've used in my classroom to take anecdotal notes and keep track of my informal observations.


I overlap and tape index cards to a clipboard so that just the student names show.  I also write what day of the week I would conference or meet with students to help keep me organized. 

When I'm walking around the room to observe or conference with students I carry my clipboard, flip up the card of the student I'm observing, and write my notes.  I find it easier to carry a clipboard than a big binder with a lot of papers.  At the end of the quarter, or when the card is full, I add the card to a larger binder with that student's information.  Having all my notes is SO helpful for when it comes time to write report card comments or when conferencing with parents.  

2.  I do also keep a binder at my reading table for when I am meeting with small groups.  When meeting with a reading group I use this page: 
I write all the students' names down and as I am working with the group, I write my observations about that student next to their name.  

When I'm working with individual students during math or writer's workshop, I have an entire page for that student, and write notes as I'm conferencing.  It's easy to see what we worked on during the previous meeting.  
I've tried notes pages with more options, but it was to much to keep up with.  I like this paper because it's simple :-)  You can grab a copy of these note taking pages here!

3. To say I love task cards is an understatement.  However, when students are working, I often have to stop and solve the problem myself to check that they have the answer correct.  I've been doing something a little different with the task cards I've been creating.  I add answer choices to the cards and there is a letter next to each answer choice.  The letters answer a joke on the answer sheet.  This helps me assess because as I'm walking around the room and looking at the answer sheets, I can quickly tell if they have a wrong answer because I know the answer to the joke and it's easy to see if they have the wrong letter.  
To see exactly what I'm talking about you can download this freebie in my store by clicking here, or on the picture.  I also have a set of eight back to school language arts task cards that have a joke.  

 4. Finally, I am OBSESSED with sticky notes!  Not only do they come in fun colors and shapes, they can be a great assessment tool as well!  
I type questions on sticky notes and place them in the books students are using for guided reading.  Since I can't listen to six students reading at the exact same time, these questions give me the chance to see what students are thinking while they are reading.  When they get to a sticky note in the book, they stop and write their response to the question.  When I get to each student, I can either discuss what they wrote, or review it later to give me an idea of how they are answering certain types of questions.  I can also see if a student is struggling to answer the question on the sticky note, and I know that's a great time for me to jump in.  I try to write questions that involve several reading strategies.  When the students are done, I can keep the sticky notes and have a record of their thinking!   It would take me FOREVER to hand write the sticky notes for EVERY member of the reading group, typing takes no time at all!

This is another sticky note that I typed on: 
I printed a bunch of these out, carried them around as I met with students in reading and writing conferences, and then stuck them on a page in a big binder with the student's name at the top.  Come report card time, I just flipped to the student's page, and used the sticky notes as my notes for typing comments.    

As if you need an excuse to to go out and buy more sticky notes I wrote out what I hope are step-by-step directions for printing on sticky notes using Microsoft Power Point.   

The possibilities are endless!  What are some other ideas you have for using sticky notes for assessment?  Let me know in the comments!


  1. Oh my goodness so many wonderful ideas in one spot! I too use task cards all the time but have never seen them with an answer key like that! Super cute and super creative-love it! Thanks for the instructions on how to use sticky notes as assessments! Again so many great ideas on here-thanks for sharing!

    Learning to the Core

  2. I love the sticky notes. I have wanted to do that but could not figure it out so thank you so much for that!

  3. LOVE your task cards answer sheet idea. How cute! I bet that really motivates your students to answer the questions correctly :)
    The Techie Teacher

  4. I love those sticky notes for questions! Even in small reading groups, you can't hear everybody read, but I love this quick check to see what kids learned. This is great! Thanks for sharing :)

    Second Grade Sweetie Pies

  5. You have SOOOOOOOOOO MANY cute ideas!!! I always wondered how to print on sticky notes!! :) I am DEFINITELY a new follower!!!!
    Mixing it up in Middle

  6. Never mind, I am already a follower! ha ha! I love your blog so much I tried to follow you TWICE! :)