Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kindergarten Formative Assessments

Student Project
How do you determine baseline levels for your new incoming students?  For years I have been using this project as my initial assessment of student skills.  I tell my students it is a "follow the leader draw".  As educators we call it a directed lesson.  As I begin the lesson I determine student understanding of line names such as horizontal, vertical and diagonal.  Some usually are familiar but not necessarily comfortable with the words.  I have students draw with their "magic pencils" (index fingers) in the air in front of them as I say the word for the line and then they repeat it back.  We do this for several repeats as they draw first horizontal lines from edge to edge of the paper, followed by vertical lines and finally a few diagonal lines.  Next we embark on the primary colors and shapes.  The lesson might go: color a rectangle red.  I would ask someone to tell me what a rectangle might look like before they color.  A square could be blue or yellow and the final color would be a triangle.  Each time someone shares what the shape should look like so that all students are able to identify the shape they should be coloring.  Secondary colors are introduced by combining the primary colors.  "What will happen when we mix red and yellow?"  This happens for all three secondary colors as more shapes are colored and circles are drawn and colored.  The entire lesson involves active student participation in the discovery with much repetition of words and concepts.  As they work I am constantly taking in the process and looking for struggling students and competent students.  As we all know, there is a huge discrepancy in skills with incoming Kindergartens some years.  This lesson really gives me an overview of what I need to focus on and whether students have already mastered basic skills due to PreK exposure or home involvement.

Student Project

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