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Back to School Assessments


Happy Monday!

It's the start of week 4 for me and it's officially time to get down to business!  The honeymoon stage is over (long gone!), the students are completely comfortable in the classroom, and we are knee deep into the curriculum now!  (with a few procedures and routines on repeat!)

I really (like Really Really) am ready to get to know each student on a deeper level (academically!).

 I have started pulling my kiddos back one-on-one with me during specific times in the day and I'm slowly but surely learning who is sailing through with ease and who is riding the struggle bus!  (Can I get an AMEN?!)

When I assess my new kinders (prior to any district wide testing), I don't use any formal or fancy assessment!  I just whipped up some simple (and student-friendly!) back to school assessments just to help me get the basics for my kiddos!   That pretty much includes (1) alphabet identification {capital and lowercase letters} (2) beginning sounds (3) Number Identification to 20 (4) color identification and (5) sight word recognition.

While I don't expect my students to master all of these, it definitely gives me a baseline and shows me what I'm workin' with!

Today was all about letter identification.   I created this simple form that includes all capital and lowercase letters (out of order!) as well as the same exact layout for the students in a colored version!

It looks something like this:


While I'm recording the student's response, the student has a color-coded sheet that is identical to mine.  I can easily say, "Read the orange row".   "Read the green row", etc......   
It is much easier than giving the students a complete white sheet... trust me (it's overwhelming!)

The color-coded lines help break it down and not seem so daunting while students are trying to show me their best!

If a student identifies the letter incorrectly, I simply just mark through it with the highlighter.  I write in the white space ___/26, and we continue with the lowercase letters.




I also created the same thing for the other areas of assessment that look like this:


(This is shown above in use!)
I have two forms (yes, they look the same!)  One is for letter ID and the other is for beginning sounds!



I included a color-coded identical copy (I say... read the red column/line.... read me the green column/line, etc....)

It breaks it up into small chunks of assessments and it's very student friendly!



This assesses the first 25 words and again, I give the students an exact replica of my teacher sheet, just in a more friendly version.  (Please read the green column, etc...)



It amazes me how many students come in NOT knowing their colors!  So.... just to make sure, I have this form as well.  The students receive the sheet on the right and just point and say the color!  


AND......

Just in case some of you are JUST now assessing (like me!).... you can grab these assessments for FREE!

Just click HERE!

Hope you all have a great week....


and if you have any questions on how to use these.... please let me know!

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Jessica Travis
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Fun with Decomposing Numbers!


Day 13 for me here.  Yes... 13 days of school already down.  I mean seriously, it literally seems like the first day was yesterday.  It's already flying by!

We all know down in Kinder-World that the entire first (and second, probably third, and even the 4th!) week of school is all about those precious procedures and repeating every single word until our throat hurts.

We are wrapping up week three here and I really feel that this week (even though shortened by Labor Day.... and I'm NOT complaining!) we are starting to get the hang of this thing called "learning".

Math is always one of my favorite subjects to teach because... well.... it's just so gosh dang fun and hands-on!  I LOVE (and I mean I really LOVE) seeing my kinder babies really grasp and understand math!  Teacher heart happy.... check!

In Math we start off pretty basic.... like REALLY basic.  We work on numbers 0 - 5 for FOUR weeks!  Building number sense and a good understanding of numbers is the main goal.... so I will take as long as I need in order for my students to really grasp this!

This week has been all about Decomposing.... and in this case... up to the number 5!

I wanted to share a variety of activities that you can use for decomposing....whether it be decomposing the number 5, 10... or whatever!  These activities can definitely be used for the larger numbers as well.

This chart gets created early on in the decomposing unit because it really gives students a visual of breaking down a number.


This chart stays hanging up in the classroom throughout the unit.  We create it as a whole group and as it begins to come along, the student's eyes light up with understanding!  All you need is POST-ITS!  


The first activity we always start off with (and it's a student favorite!) is making their decomposing bracelets!


All you need is pipe cleaners and pony beads!  
Since we are decomposing the number 5, they each get 5 beads.  

The best part of this activity.... I get to integrate literature!!!  

We choose from these books throughout the week:


As we read through the book and one of the characters "goes away", the students will move a bead on their bracelet...... decomposing the number.


Many of my students LOVE this activity and decomposing really begins to "click".... they even wear them the rest of the week! 


Another favorite activity is the "Dump & Decompose"

Depending on what number you are decomposing, this will determine the number of two-sided counters you will have in your cup! 
For us... it's still about the magic number FIVE!


They shake and "dump" their counters and then they decompose.


In this example... it shows that the number 5 is decomposed into 2 and 3.  (2 red counters and 3 yellow counters)

We shake and "dump" again, questioning each time (is it the same as last time?  what is different?  is it still 5? etc...)

Need a quick activity (and some fine motor skills thrown in the mix?!)

Just grab some popsicle sticks and clothespins!


Simply move the clothespin and decompose!  

This is a great hands-on activity to use as you create the post-it chart from earlier in this post!


Do you need an activity to get your students up and moving?

I found these ADORABLE little bowling sets at the one and only DOLLAR TREE (I grabbed a few packs!) and immediately thought about decomposing numbers!   
~ The pack does have 10 pins and 2 balls!

The great thing about the bowling activity.... you can use it for decomposing TEN... or any number less than that by removing the pins!


I set up the five pins... and I also give my students a dry erase board and marker (but this is totally up to you!)


I make a template on the dry erase board and then have my students roll the ball!

The number of pins knocked down represent the first number and the remaining pins that are standing represent the second number.

The students then just fill in the boxes with the two numbers!

After that student has a turn, the next student goes!  This is great for whole group or small groups!


One of my favorite decomposing activities.... is getting LIFE SIZE!

I picked a package of yellow and red paper plates at the Dollar Tree (I go a little crazy in that store!)
and these plates represent the two sided counters that we already are familiar with and use in the classroom.


Our classroom is half tile and half carpet!  These tile squares are the perfect place to set up a life-size FIVE FRAME!  (you can do a ten frame as well!)



Use the plates to show a visual of decomposing within a five frame.

While not all students can do this at the same time, I made these little Five Frame pages that will allow students to use the small counters and represent the same visual as shown on the large five frame.


You can grab this little FREE five frame sheet by clicking the picture above or by clicking HERE.

The font in the activity from Babbling Abby!


Last.... but definitely NOT least.... you have to have FOOD involved with Math!

I made these little picture mats using Krista Wallden's clipart!  I grabbed some goldfish... and WAH-LAH... we were decomposing!


I give each student 5 fish... but again, you would give the number that you are decomposing!

We start off with all five fish in the water....


As we decompose.... we move "some" fish to the cave!


Again... I want the most exposure to writing the numbers as I possibly can... so they get to write on their tables with dry erase markers.... and yes... they absolutely LOVE it!  (it comes right off with clorox wipes!)

So..... there you have it!  Our week of decomposing the number 5 (but you could EASILY do this with decomposing 10!)

I'm off to bed.... ready to rock Friday tomorrow!

Happy Teaching friends!!!










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Jessica Travis
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