Tuesday Slice of Life with Two Writing TeachersIt is the end of the school year and I am awash in doing final assessments of my preschoolers.
I am always amazed at how time-consuming it is, and
how delightful I find the one-on-ones with these little ones.
They say the most adorable things.
Three examples -
gathering data on children's ability to recognize shapes,
showing a preschooler pictures of
rectangle, triangle, circle;
she's recognizing them right away.
I show her a square, and
"SQUARE! SQUIRREL! Oh, that reminds me, I saw a dead squirrel in a trash can on the way to school this morning, and my Mommy said she didn't like it, that she doesn't like squirrels, because they hurt our garden, they take our seeds and the plants don't grow, and this one was dead and it was in the trash can with flies, too."
Yes, the square meant very little to her,
but the morning walk meant all the world...
(Hey, maybe I can enter her words in my alliteration data...great connection, square to squirrel!)
now I am gathering data on spatial relationships,
students' ability to follow simple directions related to position and proximity -
in, on, under, beside, between...
I have some small blocks out and a couple counting bears...
"Move the bear ON a block..."
He moves the counting bear to the appropriate place.
But then he begins to build with the blocks.
He builds a simple set of stairs, and moves the counting bear up these, saying,
"Here's the bear,
bear goes up the stairs.
Daddy says he's gotta go to bed,
'gotta go to sleep, bear.
I love you, bear.' "
What a dear! Suddenly this spatial relationship data seems rather trivial...I'd rather hear this child's stories....
I am gathering data on number sense -
How high can a child count?
Do they associate the number with a quantity?
Let's look at their one-on-one correspondence.
I have a large container filled with counting bears and another large container filled with small blocks.
She begs to explore the materials -
"No questions, Ms. Ingram...let me fix this, first!"
She begins to build the longest line of blocks, using every single one of the cubes.
"Now, let me give each bear a chair!,"
and she puts one small bear on each small block, painstakingly, unhurried.
It is just she and I, with, seemingly,
all the time in the world.
"Wow, that is a lot of bears and a lot of blocks...would you like to count them?"
"Oh, sure! Watch!" and
she dances her pointed finger from the beginning to the row to the end,
"One - two - three- four - five - six - seven - eight!
That is FAST counting!
I am good at this!!"
How can I argue about her mathematical prowess when she has shown me such focus and precision in the creation of her line of bears?
These assessments are too narrow in their focus!
Children have so much more to share.