Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring Cleaning Linky!

It's SPRING!  It's that special time of year when everything is turning green... and everyone gets in the mindset of cleaning and getting organized.  Well, I'm no different!  I thought I'd "hop" right in to the clean-up spirit and share one of my classroom organization activities.  
{OH!... And a little GIVE-AWAY that anyone would love!!  More info at end of this post!}

Well... This past week was "mid-term" week for me, and the end of the school year is right around the corner.     So... naturally, the last several weeks have been an intense time for me!   Assessing, assessing, assessing.... recording, organizing, reporting!  Whew!  While "quarter ends" and "midterms" are absolutely EXHAUSTING for me.... they are so worthwhile! "Report card" time forces me to pull out all of my informal, formative assessments and compare them with my formal, summative assessments to determine where each of my kiddos is truly "AT."   As I move through this process, I am ALWAYS looking for new ways to make the assessment process more efficient...and ultra-organized!   So... I'm going to share some of the things I use to stay organized and on top of my standards.... and I hope you will share with me too!

Here are a few things I do:

1. My NUMBER ONE goal is to know EXACTLY what EACH and EVERY CHILD knows....specifically, down to every common core standard!   I assess every child, every quarter with a formal assessment on the specific standards that kinder-kiddos are "supposed" to know for that quarter! (I do have help from my awesome kinder-aides with this task.) How do I do this?    I use this GREAT tool from KINDERGARTEN WORKS.

 This bundle includes a list for each quarter of the common core standards each child should know.  It also includes written assessments for each quarter on these same standards.  EVERYTHING is organized for you.  All the assessment questions and activites are right there...done for you! You literally grab a pencil...and sometimes a few common manipulatives...and you are ready!   When I'm finished administering the assessment each quarter, I have a clear look at EXACTLY which standards my kiddos have mastered...and which ones they still need help on.   I then take that information and highlight the quarterly standards that EACH kiddo has NOT mastered on the corresponding quarterly standard list (which is "edit-able" by the way!) and I send it home with my report card.  My parents know EXACTLY what skills their children need to work on.  Most importantly, I know exactly which skills my students need extra instruction on...and BOY! OH BOY! does it inform my teaching!    Sometimes I think I "hit" a standard well and everyone "seems" to know it... and then the assessments show BAM!   I was wrong!   For example, this quarter I was sure that my kiddos all knew what "setting" meant (in regard to stories)... and guess what?   Several kiddos just didn't know!  And many more could not verbally DEFINE it as the Common Core requires.    Guess who just did another mini-lesson on "setting" this week?  :)    

2.  To stay organized I create an individualized "Student Assessment Binder" for EACH student.   At the beginning of the year, I place inside any information that I received from the incoming students' preschools.    I also put all of my beginning of the year assessment paperwork inside.  (We use the new DIAL test at kindergarten registration for developmental screening... and then I invite each of my students into my classroom the week before school starts to visit the room.. AND I also give them a partial assessment of the 1st quarter CCSS KINDERGARTENWORKS assessment.)   This info really helps me plan for the beginning of the year, as it gives me a nice picture of what all my kiddos know.   As the year progresses, I stick various student work examples in the binders with little comments I write added on to them, as well as any anecdotal assessment notes.    Then, obviously I place each quarter's CCSS KINDERGARTENWORKS assessments along with each student's highlighted quarterly common core standard list.... which basically becomes that child's INDIVIDUAL LEARNING PLAN for the next quarter!   

 I use 1 inch binders with slide-in covers!

You can see in the front left pocket I keep student behavior records (I use a "stoplight" system), home reading records, and copies of formal report cards and progress reports.  In the back pocket you may notice that I keep student work samples.  The page that you see IN the binder rings is the student's quarterly goal sheet.   This is a printed version of ALL of the state standards (broken into quarterly expectations) on which I highlight EACH student's common core standard performance.  I assess EVERY CCSS each quarter and any standard that each student has NOT mastered gets highlighted.  Those highlighted standards become THAT child's goals for the next quarter.

Above, you see more pages of the quarterly student learning objectives.
I do this for EVERY kiddo in my class EVERY quarter. 

How do I assess EVERY standard for each quarter?  Well, I'll be honest... It takes time.  But it is SOOO worth it!  I really feel like I know EXACTLY where each kiddo is in regard to our learning standards.   I use these comprehensive assessments created by KINDERGARTENWORKS on TPT.  They were designed by a very knowledgeable team of teachers from my former school system in Mishawaka, IN.  

Here you see the monthly homework packets I send home with my kinder-babies each month.  They are AWESOME!  They are specifically designed to cover the CCSS.  They are constructed so that students can do one activity a night (that may take 3 minutes or so)... or the activites can be done as parents have time.   I set "due dates" as the last day of each month.  They ROCK!  I love them not just  because they provide my kiddos with extra practice on the standard skills....but because they allow parents to  SEE and UNDERSTAND what we are working on in class!   (We all know how well parents tend to read our weekly newsletters! LOL)  If you are interested check out KIM SWOVELAND's store on TPT!

3. At the end of the school year, I meet with the first grade teacher for the "passing of the binders."   At this time, I can literally SHOW her EXACTLY which skills/standards EACH child has mastered and which skills/standards she will need to provide extra support on.   Of course, it is my hope that the first grade teacher will continue this process....and 2nd, etc.    Can you imagine how AWESOME that would be?   Our kiddos would go into third grade and the teachers/parent would ALREADY know.... BEFORE "THE TEST".... EXACTLY how they will perform!   Ahhh... teaching perfection.   **<DREAM... DREAM...>**   Ok... I acknowledge that at least at my school we are NOT "there".... but I am doing my part to the best of my ability!   I am hoping others will see the value of truly knowing where EACH child "is" and then strive to achieve that.

 Please share!  What do YOU do for assessments?
 How do YOU track student progress?
What other ways do YOU stay ORGANIZED???

Now to CELEBRATE spring.....
Take a moment to enter the Rafflecopter below for you chance to win a size-able 
Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Certificate!  
I'm sure you can find something on TPT to help you stay organized {or at least one step ahead of your kiddos} for the rest of the school year!  
Goodluck, my blogging friends!

Now "hop" on over to the next stop on the "spring cleaning" hop by clicking below...


  1. Wow! awesome binder. I am working on one as well. :)

  2. Hello friends!! I am looking some physical activities for kindergarten students. Well, I am a teacher of Phoenix kindergarten and we are planning to add some new activities. Please give your recommendations.