"The primary purpose of being four is to enjoy being four—
of secondary importance is to prepare for being five.”
Jim Trelease (Author of THE READ ALOUD HANDBOOK)
Doesn't that quote make you pause and think, WHY AM I DOING THIS? Many of you are so busy assessing and collecting data that you don't have time to TEACH! If I were in charge of the world I’d just give all children “A” for effort and say that they were performing at “99%” of their ability. But, I’m not in charge of the world, so here are some suggestions for gathering data that might help you this year.
Weekly Folders – Have a file box with a folder for each child. As they complete their work, they can file it behind their name. Send folders home on Friday for parents to check.
Thumb Drive – Ask each parent to send in a thumb drive where children can save their work.
Digital Cameral - Have a digital camera available so they can take photos of projects and hands-on activities.
Color Coded - This isn't as high tech as a thumb drive or computer assessment, but it's very visual and can be very meaningful. Find an assessment with basic skills you will be focusing on during the year such as upper and lowercase letters, numerals, shapes, sight words, sounds, math facts, etc. Each month assess children and color in the squares they have mastered with a different color of crayon. For example, color what they know in September in red, October - orange, November - brown, etc. It will give a "colorful" picture of the child's learning journey.
Portfolio – Individualize children’s growth by collecting samples of their work each month and saving them in a portfolio. You can use clasp envelopes or gallon zip bags and date each month. Collect a writing sample, self portrait, small motor activity, math page, etc.
Four Square Assessment – At the beginning of each month, have children fold a piece of paper into fourths. Ask them to write/draw the same thing in each square every month. You might have them draw a picture of themselves, write their name, write letters of the alphabet, numbers, shapes, write a story, etc. Adapt to your age level and standards. Date and save for a “reliable” picture of the child’s progress throughout the year.
Interest Inventory - In addition to saving writing samples and self-portraits in a “portfolio” each month, have children complete an “interest inventory” by filling in sentences similar to the ones below:
I am good at______.
I like to _____.
I want to work on _____.
My favorite book is _____.
I wish _____.
Hint! Younger children could just dictate their responses to an adult.