Fun, fair and fearless assessments
1. Cookies and conversations: Arranging for a virtual cookies and conversations session between 2 to 3 children led by the teacher talking about different situations, likes, dislikes, holidays, emotions. A great way to check on children’s language and socio-emotional skills!
2. Scrapbook and presentation: Getting children to build their own scrapbook throughout the quarter by stringing sheets of paper with activities done by them like sticking wrappers of the different food items they ate during the week and identifying the various colors, shapes or understanding the concept of the 5 senses and connecting it to junk v/s healthy food.. Concepts like these can be a part of the scrapbook that connect themes to math, language and life skills. The teacher can get the student to present and explain their scrapbook to check for the child’s understanding of different concepts.
3. Digital portfolio: Filing the student’s work – formal and informal in the form of pictures and videos in a folder/app or drive and collating the same to understand the child’s abilities and potential. This is a quick assessment technique which can be paired with any other assessment strategy for optimum results.
4. Be the artist: Taking the child through the design thinking cycle (basic) and steps to create an artifact or a poster for presentation. It is important for the teacher to introduce the child to the design thinking approach earlier so that they are familiar with the same. The process is important as it would give the teacher an understanding of the child’s strengths and improvement areas. It is a trans- disciplinary approach where the various subject areas could be linked beautifully!
5. STEAM Challenge : An interesting way to plan inclusive, trans-disciplinary and fun assessments would be to engage small groups of children in a fun STEAM challenge! The challenge could be formulated keeping in mind the developmental milestones, abilities of the children and the objective/purpose. Children could then be asked to explain and talk about their learnings from the challenge which helps to check on their language and critical thinking skills.
6. Pretend play: Mock interview set-up: Arranging for a one on one interview set- up with the teacher where the child and the teacher take turns to ask questions. These questions to be carefully formulated ranging from simple to complex and familiar to unfamiliar. It is important for the teacher to focus and document on the child’s questions too as it gives an insight about the child’s thought process, creativity, higher order thinking and language abilities. These questions can revolve around the theme, child’s personality and real life situations with a focus on problem solving and life skills integration.
7. Authors & illustrators: Have student’s think and create their own story book where they think about the plot, the main characters, the beginning, middle and end of the story. The stories could be related to the theme, themselves or anything that they wish to write about. It would be an effective exercise if the teacher shares samplers and expectations/assessment criterias with the students beforehand. Once their story book is ready, they narrate the story to the teacher post which the teacher can ask a couple of questions and link it to math concepts like shapes, colors,
8. Exploration Table: Teacher to set up an exploration table with different familiar and unfamiliar items at her end. These items could range from books, stationery, theme related toys, alphabets, puppets, sorting objects, number charts etc. Each student virtually would get 3 chances to choose any 3 objects from that table and based on the same the teacher could have conversations or prepare a quiz to check for student’s understanding. It is important that the teacher chooses materials that are open-ended and fluid such that they can lead to multiple concepts and questions.
Questioning skills become an important aspect of this strategy where the teacher should formulate questions that are open-ended and lead to higher order thinking as well.
9. Treasure hunt: A fun activity planned in collaboration with the parents where the teacher plans a detailed treasure hunt with the clues and shares it with them beforehand. The hunt items to be concept related like finding 3 red blocks or a plant that is short or alphabets/numbers hidden in a corner such that the teacher and parents can check for the child’s conceptual understanding. The clues could be read and explained by the parents. If the teacher is unable to see the treasure hunt live, the parents can record the same and share it. Important to keep the hunt time-bound and realistic in terms of complexity. Along with the child’s conceptual understanding, this activity helps in assessing the child’s listening skills, ability to follow directions, problem solving abilities and sequencing.
10. Cooking experience: Planning a fun step by step cooking activity is a multi- sensorial experience to assess the concepts of measurement, numbers, sequencing, senses, body parts, language and life skills. Depending on the child’s age, a developmentally appropriate experience (with fire or fireless cooking) can be planned with the teacher giving instructions to a small group of children. Teachers could request for parent’s assistance and supervision if done virtually. Post the cooking activity, children can illustrate and attempt to write the steps or verbally share their learnings and experience. An experience like this would lead to an assessment of various important skills and concepts if done in the right manner!
A friendly tip: Planning assessments with pointed objectives and purpose is important. For best results, combine two to three different assessment strategies catering to different developmental areas & skills!