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Thursday, March 20, 2014


How to describe assessments? This is the second time (okay, or maybe more) that I have "flunked" this question in an interview. What does a formative assessment look like in my class? Um.... Let me just tell you a secret people. I NEED a job. It is just about impossible to explain how I will use formative assessments when I am not in the classroom using them. And it is about impossible for me to tell you what I will use for Kindergarten and Fourth grade as well. Oh my. The given answer about formative assessments: question. I use a lot of questioning techniques. I think conferencing with students is essential. That is why it is important to set students onto learning quests and journeys or whatever you want to call it. It is important that they have independent learning time in order to allow me to have one on one time with each student. What do you think? I did this some in Kindergarten last year for writing. We conferenced on Mondays. I did it in Second grade with guided reading projects and loved the way it worked for them. So I think that conferencing with students is a good way to do formative assessments. I think questioning techniques would be a good way. Written summaries are somewhat good. I think that written summaries are good if either your students have been trained previously to organize information or you have taken time to teach them. My Fourth grade guided reading groups cannot give me written information very well. I realized I have to teach them what I want. It's a little painful in the process, but it will be so worth it. They are going to soar this last semester. Rubrics are a huge part of assessment in my opinion, but that is formal, not formative. So.... how do I explain how I learn what I need to know on the fly, in the middle of the lesson, so that I know if what I am teaching is working. I know that I must do this because if what I am teaching isn't working, I have to change it, as soon as possible, and not after I have taught an entire lesson. So what assessments do I use? How do I check in with students? I feel foggy, because I know I do it. Not to brag, but.... (do you feel a brag coming on?), I am the most reflective teacher I know. I analyze and over analyze what is working and what's not working almost constantly. So first of all, why does it leave me in interviews and secondly, how do I put what I do into words?

What formative assessments do you use? What works best? What works for early primary? What works for intermediate? Tell me what you do. I feel the need to gather information. I feel the need to hear from others and say... "oh, yeah, I do that..." or "oh, I have never tried that," or "I don't do that but I do this...." I need my mind to be stimulated in the area of assessment. Help! Please!

Here is the writing rubric we adopted in my Kindergarten class last year. I downloaded it for free from I wrote my own definitions. I think rubrics and teaching 6 trait writing are some of the best ways to assess in a more formal way.
This is the rubric. I loved it. Students can measure their own progress and improve.

These are the definitions I wrote so I would maintain consistency. 


  1. I remembered something else! Thumbs up and thumbs down. Thumbs up if you agree. Etc. I can't believe this never even crossed my mind since I do it annoyingly often!

  2. Great rubric. I want one...

    Good luck, friend!