Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back to School Weekly Linky: Week 2!

We're BACK!! Time for Week 2 of the Back 2 School Weekly Linky with Stephanie & myself. 
This week, we're talking ALL about assessment! We're giving ideas, tips, strategies, success stories, and other sorts of information. SO read on below and then check out the links in the link up to see other's tips!
When it comes to assessment, I'm a big time newbie. I didn't know much about it, nor did I learn a lot in college about it… kind of just a "teach yourself" sort of topic, in my opinion.

This past year, I did a LOT of observing as a form of assessment. I liked to walk around with my students working and get down on their level to see what they were thinking. I asked them questions to gauge their understanding, to gauge their thinking, and so forth.

I also relied a lot on Bloom's Taxonomy when trying to make my assessments up. We would do a LOT of explaining, which fell under the evaluation part in Bloom's. Also, we did a lot of labeling, arranging, and identifying (from the first two levels of Bloom's). 

In terms of testing, I made a lot of my own assessments up to meet the needs of my students. They did a lot of remembering and recalling information, especially in mathematics.

But, a lot of my science assessments took the form of projects to show what they've learned. 

My absolute FAVORITE project I assigned, by far, was the Animal Habitat Diorama. This project required students to create a diorama about an animal, uncommon animals to be specific. You typically see animal projects about dogs, cats, lions, tigers, etc. BUT, this project held animals such as ducks, quails, zebra, prairie dogs, komodo dragons, gorillas, anteaters, buffalos, and so on! My kiddos LOVED it.
But, I had to find a way to assess their work (and man, did they do some awesome work!!). So, I turned to a rubric. Rubrics are easy for me to create because you identify your category/area, assign the points, and then leave comments to support your stance on the points!
Students can easily understand the rubrics, as well, and if not, they can hand it to you, ask questions, and you can easily explain.

I also really enjoy doing portfolios. When it comes to writing, it's easy for my students to look back at their work using their portfolios. Portfolios help my students participate in self-directed learning, assessing, and they are able to hold themselves to goals, as well! Portfolios allow for students to hold themselves accountable for their work, as well.

When it comes to portfolios, I used two specific types - documentation portfolios to show my students' growth over time and process portfolios to show my students' work over time as they started with the brainstorming, to rough drafts, to final drafts. My students this past year thoroughly enjoyed being able to look through their portfolios to see how they have grown, and I enjoyed looking through them for this reason, as well!

In our class, we used MANY more assessment strategies than just the two I identified, but those were our two major assessments. Other assessments we used on an "every once in a while" basis were:
-conferences (especially with reading)
-end of the year tests
-oral fluency assessments
-fluency tests
-performance assessments (especially with mathematics)
-standardized tests (agh…)

What types of assessments do you utilize most?? Write up a post and link up below! I'd love to hear all about it. If you don't have a blog, feel fee to leave a comment so we can discuss it!!


  1. With little ones it is hard not to do a lot of the observation...but you are very right that there are so many other kinds out there that we have to remember and do those too! Rubrics is something I struggle incorporating in my classroom (I think when I look online I never find one with just what I want and I am not confident enough to create those...just yet!) BUT I love how your animal projects turned out and you are so right that sometimes rubrics are simply the best way to go! I love how they are easy to follow and understand for the kids! Thanks again so much for hosting! I will now be hopping around to some other blogs for more tips and tricks on assessment!

    Learning to the Core

  2. You make some really great suggestions about different ways to assess, thanks for sharing. I LOVE your animal dioramas, they turned out great! I like rubrics as well, it's one of my goals for the upcoming year to use them more. I love the idea behind portfolios, but I don't think I'm organized enough to keep up with them, lol.

    The Cutesy Teacher


  3. I love the habitat project. What a great idea! I used a TON of rubrics last year in 5th grade. It really helped them know exactly what they needed to do to get the grade they wanted. And it was super easy to grade when they were done! The writing portfolios sounds great. How did you organize them? Were they in a notebook or binder? I would love to be able to see how they grow over the year!


  4. I too use writing portfolios. It's a great way to look back on students' progression throughout the year and the kids like looking at them also. Thanks for sharing!

    Btw, I love the colors of your blog :)

    Second Grade Sweetie Pies

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