Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Slice of Life - Meaningful, authentic, assessment.

3:15pm today -
This is meaningful, authentic, and an assessment.  

Prelude - My kindergarten students have been studying and learning about traditions.  Our learning targets can be summarized with these two statements;  I can share my family customs, traditions, and celebrations.  I can talk about family celebrations and why they are important.  I began our work with ideas from my friend Katie and her post titled traditions.  I collaborated with my art teacher and together we helped the children create a tradition symbol using embossing on heavy gauge foil, an idea Katie shared in her post.  

This afternoon as my students and I were retracing our symbol designs on to heavy gauge foil, coloring the raised image using colored sharpies there was a spirit in the air.  A spirit filled with happiness.  Happiness for creating and making something for our families.  I've never guided students with embossing on heavy gauge foil and I don't always make projects for families.  I let time, cute vs necessary debate in my mind, and relevance lead the way to making nothing for our families.   However, when my own daughters have brought things home over the years for me, my husband, or us together I always vow to help my students make something for their families for various reasons during the year.  There is a sense of pride all children need to feel when they can make something and give to others.  Katie's post had my interest peaked because it was relevant to our lives and related to our learning.  After the students had a parent volunteer use a glue gun to mount their tradition embossing to chipboard, they came to me for labeling and packing up.  As I listened to student after student share a family tradition orally and through visual representation, I realized this is an assessment.  They are sharing and talking about family traditions.  I loved it was authentic, child created art. It wasn't a worksheet, there was no fill in the blank or multiple choice questions, and there were no i can statements at the top of the page.  

Epilogue - I am happiest when we are creating and students are sharing their own ideas.  I began to wonder how could I document it.  It's not something to assign a number or a rubric to.  It's not something to it put on a ten point scale in a grade book.  I could check it off on a checklist but that doesn't make learning visible or show my student's thinking.  I get to do this again on Thursday.  I think the answer to document our product as an assessment is to take a picture of each final project and store them in an Evernote social studies note for each student.  If you have any ideas, let me know.  I will try to share photos later in the week here.

Thanks Tara at Two Writing Teachers for hosting Slice of Life this week.


  1. These are the moments that your students will remember because I'm sure they're happiest when they're creating and sharing ideas, too. Bravo to you for being reflective and doing what you know is best for your students!

  2. Love the prologue and epilogue!