Sunday, June 5, 2011

Testing, Testing 1-2-3!

I know, I know. The last word a teacher or student wants to hear at the end of the year is test, but that's what most of us are doing - finishing guided reading and end of the year math assessments, grading finals, compiling writing portfolios, and giving report card grades. Let's be honest, when you hear the word assessment, you probably think test. Students learn in different ways and so we teach to different learning styles and call it differentiated instruction. But have you thought about differentiating your assessments? In my first couple of years for teaching, I always used summative and formative assessments in my classroom, but I wasn't as creative as I am now. Problem based learning and project based learning have become very popular as they are easy ways of holding your students accountable for showing what they learned without having to take a quiz or test.They can just be plain fun too!  Try involving students in creating a rubric at Rubistar.

For more detail and research on instruction and assessment, check out the What Works Clearinghouse from the U.S. Department of Education.
Check these ideas out: (different from Picture Exhange Communication system)

Two of my favorite ways of assessing students are to have them create a foldable (upcoming blog) or a scrapbook page of what they learned. Once pages are put together, they have a memory book of the school year! I had students bring in pictures from home that had a similar theme (nature, holiday, etc.). If they forgot, I had them use PhotoBooth to take a couple of pictures. I used our school's die cuts to make it decorative. Go to freescrapbookfonts and Lettering Delights to check out their current freebies, which are perfect for scrapbooking (and blogging / worksheet creation) if you have a printer or can take screenshots. If you don't have any die cuts or a color printer, you can have the students draw with colored pencils or markers. I avoid crayons because the wax and pictures don't get along very well! Students can cut out letters, words, and phrases from newspapers or magazines too. We created borders and picture backgrounds by cutting construction paper with decorative edge scissors.

 Check out these pictures to see what my students created when I was an artist for a day at our arts festival. (I was one of the "artistic teachers" mentioned in the newspaper article.)

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