Do You Understand??

My school does Marzano's vocabulary program and kids have notebooks with close to a hundred words that they learn each year.  The notebooks move with them from year to year, so they can also serve as a nice way to gauge progress in handwriting through the years.

In these notebooks, the kids have to rate how well they understand the word, on a scale of 1-4.  It was so hard to teach them the differences in the range of numbers!  Kids would rate it a 1 if they didn't really get it or a 4 even if they didn't get it at all!  I needed a clear way for them to show me their understanding!

I made this pack, complete with a parent letter, grading rubric to staple to papers that go home, exit slips for students to complete after any assignment or lesson, a student sheet that can slip inside a data or vocab notebook, 4 little posters to hang around your room, and one large poster to cut and glue together.  Now my kids know exactly what the number represent, I can write the numbers on their papers and parents know what they mean, and I even have kids show me their number after a whole group lesson!  I'm loving it!

After I shared this product with the K, 1st, and 2nd grade teachers in my building, the K teachers mentioned how they like using smiley faces with their kids.  They felt that the younger kids could connect the faces to a feeling when talking about their own learning.  I went ahead and duplicated my pack with smiley faces, too!  Now everyone is happy!

But of course I couldn't find the right smiley faces, so I whipped some up on my iPad and they are available for free in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  Go grab yours today!

How do you like to informally assess your kids?

I'm linking up over at Classroom Freebies:

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. Our kindergarten classes all are 'color bears.' We are the Green Bears. I made a poster with our Green Bear holding plates of cookies. We talked about empty plates and what we'd like to see on our plates. (Thinking about it, I might change the food to a healthier food for next year.) But, this concept worked with my little kinder-bears. I'd introduce a CC standard and they'd hold up their fingers as to how many cookies they thought the Green Bear would have on his plate if THEY were to share what they knew.

  2. This is great! I downloaded the smileys (adorable) and I have this in my cart! Woo-hoo!
    HilarySecond Grade is Out of This World!

  3. That is so cool that the notebooks follow them!!
    Great idea to post the level of understanding in your room too!
    Go Nutty with Me!

  4. Oh! I love this! I use smileys on so many different things in my class and this goes right along with it!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  5. The smileys are gorgeous, thanks for sharing!

    I love how the notebooks stay with the kids, such an easy idea, but I bet it's effective... a great way to get a snapshot of kids' understandings at the beginning of the year.

    I use individual whiteboard a lot for informal assessment. We use them at the start of most maths lessons - I find they're a great for getting a quick idea about kids' thinking with a particular idea/concept.


    Early Years Fun

  6. Great idea! Love the clipart freebie. Thanks

  7. What a great freebie! I use smiley/frowny faces with my K students all the time!

    My Kinder-Garden

  8. Thanks for the freebie! I love the idea of sending kids on to the next grade with their vocab...I wish we did that! Just found your blog and I'm your newest follower :)
    Kickin' it in Kindergarten