I have been so fortunate this year. My daughter, also a Kindergarten teacher, has been teaching in my room one afternoon a week all year. This has provided me with an amazing opportunity to
have continuous up-to-date assessment. I am using the data to plan my program, most importantly my literacy intervention part of the classroom program.
I noticed today that about four of my kiddos need to work a little more with rhyme. They can hear a rhyme but are not yet producing. The rest of the class have mastered this important skill. Armed with the knowledge I will a) continue to play rhyming games, read rhyming books every day with my whole group and sing silly little rhymes with their names when dismissing them from groups b) pull aside my group of four to work on rhyme with me or an EA each morning. I think with this support that by the end of April they will have reached mastery.
This is my plan:
1. Read books which feature rhyming photos on opposite pages.
2. Words Their Way rhyming picture boxes. We sort them into categories using the rhyming sound and then play games like
Taking fifteen minutes at the end of the day to play a game and sing a song is the perfect opportunity to inject literacy into your program. A few of my students still need to play with rhyme so I went shopping at Balanced Literacy Diet, an internet site created by OISE in Ontario for Kindergarten teachers. It features short clips of Kindergarten teachers doing literacy activities with their students. I chose a fun interactive activity, The Corner Grocery Store, using Raffi's song, some food props from the house centre, a grocery bag and a shopping basket.
We sang the song and then one student at a time pulled out an item from the grocery bag (I chose one syllable objects like: corn, rice, bread, meat...) and came up with a rhyme. Then we sang the song again using the new silly sentence. Nonsense rhymes were accepted. We sang these silly rhymes and at the end of the day, the kids were singing the rhymes as they went out the door.
This is the second post about assessment in kindergarten. Since Kindergarten teachers typically do not receive support or release time for assessment I have planned for it to be a part of my day.
My day has two centre times. Active centres are longer and take place in the morning. Quiet centres run for about 25 minutes together with a few minutes for clean up. During quiet centres students usually stay at one centre and play with one friend. There is less movement through the room and the play is naturally quieter than the morning. I open all of my centres by this time of the year but in the first term I select quieter play like playdoh, dry erase boards, lego and listening centre which demand less cooperation and social solving strategies.
During this time I will do mini assessments by setting up a table in the classroom and rotating children through to do a short assessment task like counting, sorting, creating a pattern, naming letters or sounds ... I ask my students not to interrupt. IF THEY REALLY NEED TO TELL ME SOMETHING THEN THE STUDENT WRITES HIS/HER NAME ON STICKY PAPER AND LEAVE IT ON THE TABLE. Then before I choose the next student I go and see what is needed.
The data that I collect is recorded in a binder with sections for each child and usually transferred over to my clipboard. I refer to my clipboard for observations, grouping for interventions, planning small group work as well as modelling during whole group activities like interactive writes, circle games and choral reading.
I hope that this was helpful. Thanks for stopping by.
I was thinking today that it would be interesting to know when and how different kindergarten teachers do their assessment. In our school district the class size is 22 for a full day kindergarten class. Typically the kindergarten teacher does all of the assessment and does not receive any release time. This means that ongoing assessment has to be a planned part of your workday, regardless of the composition of your class. I wanted to share one of my most powerful strategies. Conferencing with a student is one of my favourite parts of the day. We meet for about five minutes sometimes longer to discuss their writing goal. I like to do 2 stars and a wish. If the student has set a recent goal it may just be a check-in. The conference may involve working together, making a plan, reflecting on their goal or setting a new goal. For example today I met with a student who is working on beginning sounds. She wants to write a short sentence with at least 3 words in it. We "read" her picture and I complimented her on the interesting details and use of colour. When we talked about her last goal she demonstrated sounding out her three words using beginning and ending sounds. She also used one tricky word in the sentence. We decided that she was working hard on her goal and that she would continue with it until our next conference. Another student is working on drawing people. We looked at some examples and he practiced drawing fuller bodies using parallel lines and rectangles on a dry erase board. I conference every day. When the students are eating lunch the time is divided into two parts; chit chat and instructional time. During chit chat I meet with a student to conference. Usually I can meet with two students. I would love to hear what your favourite strategy is. Thanks for stopping by.
I teach Kindergarten at Cinnabar Valley Elementary in Nanaimo, British Columbia. I love my job and am passionate about providing a play based program for my kinders. I graduated in 2009 from the University of Victoria with a Masters in Early Childhood.