As teachers, we’re constantly assessing. Whether it’s phonics, math, or emotionally- we’re analyzing what each student needs next. This can become an overwhelming task when it comes to organizing what you have assessed so that you can make meaning of it. I needed a way to have concrete data to reflect after the lesson/day. So, I stumbled across Ladybug’s Teacher Files amazing checklists. She has created a document that contains anything you have ever thought about having a checklist for… and more. The best part is, you only have to write your students’ names on one checklist, and it will transfer to all of them! That’s right, all ONE HUNDRED OF THEM. I loathe excel formulas, so this was an added bonus for me. You can check them out here.
At the beginning of the week, I print 3-4 checklists off depending on what we’re covering. Each checklist is used for a specific subject area. Mine tend to be phonics, math, and writing. I staple them together, and I’m ready to quickly assess for the week.
I am a huge fan of whiteboards. Whiteboards and quick assessments go hand in hand. When I first started using whiteboards in my class, it was a game changer for me. Kids LOVE them. There’s something about using an Expo marker that is magical to them. Who am I kidding, I totally had a whiteboard and marker set on my Christmas list as a kid.
At the beginning of the day, I have my clipboard with my checklists and pen ready to go. Let’s pretend it’s math time and I am teaching multiplication word problems. I have the following question written on the board, “Nick has five baskets of candy to pass out to his friends. Each basket has 7 pieces of candy in it. How many pieces of candy does Nick have in all?” I tell my students to, “write it and hide it”. This keeps those little eyes from wandering around. When time is up, everyone puts down their marker and holds up their board, so that it faces me. This allows me to quickly assess each student. The first time you do this, it may seem like it takes an eternity, but it really only takes about three minutes.
I use a three-point scoring system to keep it simple. However, depending on your grade level this part may look different in your classroom. A simple check and minus system could work as well. Below you will find a breakdown of my three-point system.
- Three- This tells me the student got the question correct with zero prompting.
- Two- This can mean one of two things. Depending on the question, it can mean that the student only got part of it correct. Or, they made one error that resulted in a wrong answer. This group of students can usually be caught up to speed with a quick small group modeling lesson.
- One- This group either didn’t write anything, or they have no connection to the skill. These students need the concept/lesson retaught.
Using the Data
If I’m being honest, before I started using the checklist, I would quickly look at their whiteboards in that moment and forget the next day who answered what. Now, I don’t use this system for every question I ask. I would be standing up there all day! However, I do use it at least once throughout the lesson. Then, the next day I can follow up with a similar question.