Hi, teachers! It’s been a while. Getting settled in a new country with two tiny humans is no small feat. Sometimes I feel like I’m really doing a great job at functioning here, and some days I want to cry and fly home to shop at Target. I’ve noticed in a few teacher Facebook groups that I participate in teachers are wondering what to do with their other nuggets as they finish their last round of 1-on-1 assessments, so I’m sharing my top few tips on getting the assessments in before the kids are D-O-N-E.
- Keep your routine as long as you can!
What I mean by this is try and sneak your assessments in on kids. During my assessment window, I would swap 1-2 assessments per small group per day. So, for example, if I would normally see 3 guided reading groups per day, I would try to see 2 groups and do 1-2 assessments with the remaining time. This has the added benefit of students already being in work stations, so they already have a task while you assess.
- Be strategic.
I would never suggest that you sacrifice all your small group or planning time for assessments, but what I would (and am) say(ing) is think about your kids. For example, we have Quiet Time right after recess//lunch. It’s a time where kids have a choice of several activities, but they’re required to be quiet (duh). This is often a time I try to sneak in an assessment, usually of a student who isn’t shy about reading out loud, and usually someone who I don’t think will need a ton of tests to find their new level. In the same vein, if it’s possible in your school, hold 1-2 kids back at a time from a specials class. Our music teacher is a very kind soul, but not great with classroom management, so I would keep back my super rowdies for testing during music time.
- Don’t be too proud to take help.
There’s no prize for finishing all your assessments on your own! When other teachers ask if they can help, let them! My grade level SpEd teacher (bless her heart) almost always did the assessments for her kids, which was usually 3-5 kids. Our literacy coach would float around during assessment windows when she had free time looking for students to assess. Our academic AP would do the same. It’s easier to get help when you’re organized, too. During assessment windows, I would keep a checklist//table on the top of my clipboard with every kid’s name and their last assessed//current reading level, so that if someone walked into my room I could say “Oh, Teddy still needs his assessment! He’s a D now; he should be ready for the E test”. I also keep my box of assessment materials right behind my desk, so that I can grab the materials needed. (Pro Tip: it pays to have lots of extra copies of assessment sheets so that you, or another teacher, don’t have to take time during the day to copy results sheets.)
May your coffee be strong, your assessments be quick, and your readers be enthusiastic!