Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School! (Scissors, Glue, and Assessment, Too!)

There is nothing like the feeling of back-to-school. Teachers, students and parents are all anxious to meet each other, and full of wonder and excitement for the new year!  I have nine siblings in my group this year! I held some of these little ones when they were newborns!  What an honor and a privilege it is to welcome them into my class as first graders.

We sure have had a busy couple of weeks!  I have two main goals during the first weeks of school:

1) Establish classroom routines and expectations.
2) Get to know my students' personalities and assess their strengths and needs.

To accomplish these goals, I use some key classroom resources.

I love this new cut and glue, interactive, "All About Me" Book.  My students have been busy cutting, gluing and following directions to create their own books to share with each other and then with their families. What a great way to get to know each other!

First, the children cut out letter cards and glued them onto foldable flaps to to create a name page...

(student name blurred)

Then, they made an adorable "This is Me" page with a cut-out paper doll. They designed their own clothing, added hair, and drew a face. They followed directions to make a pocket envelope.

They made height and birthday pages...

...and address and phone number pages!

And a page with all of their favorite things!

Finally, they introduced their "family tree".

Of course, the whole time the students were working on their pages, I was informally assessing their ability to follow directions, cut, color, use glue, and write.  The kids loved it, and I got so much great information about them!  

If you think this would be a valuable resource in your classroom, hop on over to my TpT store. Scissors, Glue and All About You is available for $4.  Photographic directions are provided so you know exactly how to make each page.

Once I got my kiddos started on each page, I pulled them back one at a time to assess their academic skills.  I used pages out of my 1st Grade Assessment Journal to gather data on each student's math, letter and sound knowledge, sight word identification, and writing skills.  The assessments are aligned with common core standards, and give me a really good idea of baseline skills.

I will continue to assess students throughout the year, creating an informative binder of data to share with students' families during conferences.

Here are a few sample pages and some pages showing how I use them with students.

1st Grade Assessment Journal is available on TpT for $10.

I'd love to hear your strategies for getting through the first few weeks of school!  Share some of your ideas below!


  1. Reinforcing routines and expectations, getting straight into the first topic, use high amounts of praise to recognise/reinforce the correct behaviours for learning and classroom conduct. :-)

  2. Great post!!! One of the best I've read!I loved your ideas!

  3. So all your creative ideas!!!

  4. I love the all about me book and getting them busy while you are both formally and informally assessing them. Brillant. 😊