Before I start each year, I always stop and think what I really want to improve from the year before. Then I realize that it's a long list, get overwhelmed, and have to take a break. hah (even after 11 years of teaching:) BUT, one of the areas I really want to work on is self assessment. With starting a new reading series, I wanted to make sure I had opportunities for self reflection/assessment anywhere in the room that we may be working. We, as teachers, are constantly reflecting on our lessons and changing things up so I want my students to see this as a natural part of their day at school and even carrying it outside the classroom.
In an effort to do this, I took a simple desktop name tag and made it serve 2 purposes: show names and show levels of understanding.
Click on the picture or link here to check it out in my TPT store. :)
The pencils are solely there to cover my student's name. :) However, you could use the blank name tags and put velcro on them and on a dry erase marker to keep it on there and easily accessible. I have group caddies that dry erase markers are stored so they're right there.
I always try to keep this more personal for my students so they don't start comparing themselves to others. Now, I know this naturally goes on, but if I can pull as much focus away from that aspect, then my students will start really thinking about their own thinking! We talk A LOT about being at different levels than others and how it's about IMPROVING and setting goals to move up. We talk about how practicing helps us grow so the more we practice, the more we'll start to understand. Once my kids understood this, they soared!! At first, I would, at times, have to talk to some students about putting a 4, for example. "Do you think you could teach this to a 1st grader all on your own yet?" They would normally stop, think, and say, "not yet." I would tell them how it's okay to not be ready for that yet, but they could make that their goal. By midyear, my kids would actually come up to me and say, "I'm still a 2 because I still need practice." It pretty much gave me chills hearing them really start to reflect on their own understanding without as much guidance. Then when I started hearing it in other random times of the day, it would almost bring me to tears. It's such a great feeling seeing your kids grow up and take charge of their learning. :)
Now, with these name tags, there are soooo many ways to use them!!!
1. You could use them to have the students reflect on their understanding.
2. You could have them use the pictures of the kids to mark how they are feeling.
3. You could have them mark out their level after they've finished or as they're working on morning work. This would give you an easy and efficient way to walk around the room and spot check.
4. You could have them mark their understanding of their homework from the night before.
5. Going with the feelings, you could have them mark how they felt their group did working together by using the pictures of the kids on the name tag.
I'm sure all of you amazing teachers will come up with tons of uses!!
In addition to the name tags, I included small group/center Levels of Understanding Posters that match the name tags for when you are away from their desks and in different areas of the room. I do TONS of small group work so I made sure to have 2 sets: 1 for my reading small group area and 1 for my math small group area.
This set up is in my small group reading area. This year, my goal is to do more pre-assessment too. So before we even start our small group lesson say on main idea/details, I will ask the kids to show me how they feel about the topic right away. Then I could do this again AFTER the lesson to see if there was any change. When we are finished with our lesson, I say to my students, "Now, show me how you felt about our lesson today." They find their numbers, and place them under the corresponding level of understanding. I used numbers to make it more personal even though kids in their group will see, it still takes away some of that anxiety a few of the students may have. (My book bins are from Lakeshore Learning!! I've been asked a lot about them, and they are amazing! :)
This set up is next to my Smartboard where we do small groups for math. They do the same as in the reading area, except they are in a row instead. I also make sure they are out of the way of the next group possibly coming to sit down. It saves on time for sure. (The place value chart is also from Lakeshore Learning. I may or may not own half of their store! :)
So as I get ready for an awesome year, I'm really going to utilize these self reflection tools to help my students grow and succeed!!!
What are some areas you want to work on in the upcoming school year??
Thanks for stopping by!!!