Did it end with a bang?

On Friday we ended the first quarter of Second Grade. As I reflected with my students, I could not believe how quickly the first 45 days of school flew by. I then started to think about an ideal world and the celebrations that should have happened to mark this important event in our second grade timeline. Instead we completed our first quarter assessments and cross checked that all students had been given each assessments.

My county plans our pacing guide and the objectives to be taught each quarter. Each objective is assigned as either a 3 assessments or 1 assessment objective. We then assess each student through different assessment types: pencil and paper, objective task, observation, classwork, independent project, group project, etc. At the end of the quarter I grade each assessment, enter the standard based grades and start the new quarter.

Each time I struggle with the importance of the assessments and the information I learn from my students. I have already had many informal formative opportunities with my students during small group instruction, conferences, whole group lessons and interventions. I do not need 3 assessments to help me “grade” my students. I also reflect on the amount of time we spend completing these tasks.

As I start the second quarter I want to ensure that the assessments I give my students are going to be informative to both myself and the growth of my students. The article The Bridge Between Today’s Lesson and Tomorrow’s discusses a formative assessment as an exchange between the students and the teacher. The formative assessment is an aid in the student’s growth. I want my students to understand why we have assessments and then find a way to grow after receiving feedback from the assessment.

I started to think about the role of assessments in the classroom and the growth my students can make if quality assessments are given. I asked the question on twitter and am anxiously waiting to see if I receive any advice or response.

I then decided to look at assessments in a second grade classroom. After searching for quality assessments I opened up the article – Designing Learning That Matters. After reading the article I started to think about the assessments in my class and if the assessments matter to my students. Do they understand assessments as part of showing what they know? Or is it another paper that they finish as soon as possible. Not one assessment this year has been authentic or been an activity my students were excited about. I was then led to the idea of student choice in formative assessments.

I came across the Creative DNA (Device Neutral Apps) Assessments Document

I have used many of these apps in my classroom and my students have enjoyed the activities.  For example they ask for more padlets to answer questions. I am going to look into the other apps to see if they are a possibility to use as formative assessments. If my students are excited about the technology I need to give them options to show what they have learned with these tools.

I also came across a Tic-Tac-Toe choice board for assessments. This could be a great resource for me to use with my Multiple Intelligences Professional Development.

I want my students to understand that assessments are part of the learning process and as an exchange between what they know and what they have learned. I am meeting with my team this week and I look forward to creating some choice assessments. I will keep you updated on our growth in choice assessments.

How do you assess your students?

Do you use choice boards for formative/ summative assessments?

Where do you find your assessments?

What advice do you have when creating assessments?

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