Saturday, October 1, 2011

assessment remix

What does a teacher do with a four day weekend? Blog...and read the many profoundly inspiring early childhood blogs out there. In my reading, I was keeping an eye open for authentic assessment discussion/reflections/ideas. I came across the idea of learning stories, this Site of examples comes from Tom Drummond. At first the idea seemed a bit overwhelming, so much writing for one small moment! But then I browsed through my own images and came across a two-day block building scenario, involving three children in my class. Without yet consulting the Common Core Standards I know that this experience addresses several domains. I don't want to begin something as serious as this without researching it more but it seems a wonderful was to ensure assessment is meaningful and strength based. I will be buying Margaret Carr's book today to learn more about learning stories as an assessment tool. I'm curious to hear about other educator's assessment practices, does anyone have experience with using learning stories?

Below are photos of the building process; from using literature to inspire ideas, drawing to plan, building collaboratively, and then giving in to the desire to destroy and swim in a sea of blocks. My hunch is that this addresses every domain. What do you think?


  1. First, I have to say that I love that you understand there is work happening in that giant pile of blocks. Sometimes we see something that loks like absolute chaos, and we need to really look before we label it. That is something I need to be better at.

    I've read about learning stories before, but I have never used them. I have been thinking about using them this year, though, since we do not have any "formal" assessment systems in place, and the format seems to stretch daily observations just a bit further. I'll email you some links when I find them - I know I have them some somewhere!

  2. Merril, I'm always so inspired when reading your blog. It always pushes me to think more about my own teaching. I really like I've just delved into Reggio in the classroom this year and the learning stories seem overwhelming to me too. I was reading The Language of Art over the summer and the examples of learning story in the book was amazing in terms of detail. I struggle with trying to classroom manage and then to just sit in the moment with the children to capture their conversations.
    I've started taking videos! So we will see how that goes! :)

  3. Allie - I would love it if you could pass along the links when you find them, thank you!

    And Esther - Finding the balance is tricky in the classroom! You gave me a good reminder to take a look at The Language of Art again, it will be a good resource in trying to understand learning stories.

    I'm grateful for both of your comments, ideas, suggestions, and help!



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