Assessment and Evaluation


With the end of the school year coming up quickly, I know several educators are assessing what their students have learned. Web camera online online web cameras.

I created a game that I could play with the children in small groups.  I made sure I had a pen and a spreadsheet that had the students’ names on it with squares big enough that I could write notes about each child.  I wanted to take anedoctal notes about what the children knew when playing with numbers (matching, correspondence, recognition, etc).

For the game, I got out our magnetic numbers from 0 to 10.  I had created a grid on cardstock.  It had squares with the number of objects in it for 0 to 10. I put the grid on a magnetic board.

I had 2 children come over to a table at a time.  We played “Match”.  Each child got to pick a magnetic letter and find where on the cardstock to match that number to the number of objects.  We played twice to ensure each child got a turn with each number. As they matched the number to the square on the grid, I took notes of which numbers, if not all, each child could match, count to and visually recognize.

Almost every child could match and recognize these numbers to objects.  Tomorrow, I will do the same activity, but with the numbers 11 to 20.


What do we do with all of the information we have gathered?  Read more at:


 ”Observation and assessment are essential components of an effective play-based program.”


An Independent Writing Opportunity
The children had learned a song called “I’m A Little Snowman” sung to the tune of “I’m A Little Teapot”. They thought it was fun to change the words and they talked about how simple it was to write a song this way.

Vanessa suggested that the students might like to write their own songs when they went to the centres. One little girl went straight to the writing centre and enthusiastically started to create her own song. Her idea quickly caught on, with many other students writing their own original songs which they continued to sing to the tune of “I’m A Little Teapot.” Two of the students very proudly read and sang their song for me.

It is so easy to use these authentic writing opportunities to gain valuable assessment data on these children. Because it is their choice to write these words they are working in their individual zones of proximal development and truly demonstrating their understanding of the writing process. Other children will demonstrate their knowledge in different ways, at different times, and around different topics but information can be gathered in this way on all students.




Click images to enlarge.

It was very important to me that I get to know my new students quickly and I was not sure how this would work in such a busy program. Luckily I received good advice from my peers. We have taken time to open centres gradually and show them the routines we expect them to follow. There are 60 children which means a lot of transitions and the routines are crucial for keeping the day organized and purposeful. The children are already working independently at the centres now and we have time to sit and work with individuals or small groups of children while the rest are meaningfully engaged at independent tasks of their own choosing.

I have been recording my observations of the children working at the centres and one thing I have been sure to record is samples of the children’s language. I use this information to determine how and when to introduce new concepts to the children but I also find it useful to use some of these comments on their report card as well. I had noticed that an English Language Learner in my class used the word “building” to describe all his structures. At one point in my observations today I posed a question to myself – Is that what he uses to describe everything? I wanted to introduce new vocabulary in the context of his play so I said, I see you made a wall (pointing to the wall). Later he said, I am making a Jelly Bean Maker. I began to document the language I hear in the blocks so that I can introduce more complex and interesting vocabulary. For example one student talked about how people could move up the tower she had built – You zip them and you go like this all the way up the tower.

Today a child a made a stool in the blocks and plopped it right in the middle of other children’s structure. My first reaction as a teacher was to tell her to move, but I asked her what she was doing. I found out she was pretending to be a princess and wanted the tower wall around her. We talked about how a princess wears a crown and then she told me the Chinese word for crown. If I had not stopped myself and asked the question, this oral discussion would have had a much different focus. I certainly learned that I should not assume what children are thinking and doing. I do need to engage children in conversations about their motivations.