Sunday, September 5, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten - Pre Assessing Skills

When September comes I can't wait to meet all my new kindergartners and start learning names, but here's the thing.  Kindergartners come in all ability levels and when school begins it's hard to know who can do what.  Because we meet just once a week for art, it can take me a long time to figure out who can do what.  Not any more!
I'd like to share with you my first day of school kindergarten art assessment.  It follows the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" written by Bill Martin and illustrated by Eric Carle.  It results in a beautiful classroom book.  Kids can use it for learning sight words and learning to read each others names.  You'll have a record of each student's first kindergarten self-portrait.  And a base line to look back on.  This lesson is also a fabulous pre-assessment tool.  I'd like to thank Kinderkorner for sharing this.  She learned it from a friend of a friend and uses it to assess skills in her regular kindergarten classroom, but "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" is fundamentally a book about color.  The beautiful Eric Carle illustrations make it suitable for the first day of art as well.

Here's what you need to get started:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear" by Bill Martin
A pre printed handout page
crayons, pencils or markers
a camera

What I did.
Before reading, I asked my students to listen carefully for the word pattern followed in Brown Bear.  I told them that when the thought they knew the pattern of the words to join in and "read along".
After reading the book I told my students we were going to make a book that follows the pattern in Brown Bear.  I showed them the paper I printed out for them, and I read the top portion of the page (_____, ______ what do you see?)  I told them that when they got their paper they were to write their name two times in the blanks.
I asked my students what they thought should go in the middle space.  We noticed the words in Brown Bear match the picture on the page.  After a couple of tries, students were able to figure out that they would write their name on top, and make a picture of themselves in the middle of the paper.  (I specified a head-to-toe self portrait).
I read the bottom of the page to students.  (I see _____ looking at me.)  I told students that we would leave the bottom space blank.  I will fill the name in when the pages are bound together.  You can see by the picture that I have not completed that step yet.  I'll fill it in when I know whose page will come next.
I told students that the last page in the book is different.  The last page reads "I see the whole class looking at me."  I asked the kids how we could quickly make a picture of the whole class.  (Camera).  Yea!  I showed the kids where to stand for the photo, and I asked them to arrange themselves for their picture (they were amazingly good at this)
We took a smiling photo.  Two funny face photos.  And a final smiling photo.

At the end of class  collected their work and did a quick-sort.  I separated their work into three piles:  Exceeds, Meets, and Not Yet.
Here are the objectives:
Students will be able to...
recognize the word pattern in the book "Brown Bear"
write their name two times in the space provided
draw a head-to-toe self-portrait.
And here's the criteria I used to sort:
Your page has...
your name written two times in the space provided
your name is spelled correctly and your letters are formed correctly
your self-portrait includes:  a head and facial features (eyes, nose, mouth and ears or hair)
a clearly defined torso,
arms and legs,
and hands and feet.
I took some notes on the work in the three piles, I noticed I have two students who exceeded the criteria for the project.  I found 5 students who met the criteria.  And 9 students in the Not Yet pile.  In the Not Yet pile I sorted out the students who could write their names and the students who could not.  (I know they'll need help in getting their name on their work next week.)  I noticed students who are just beginning to make figurative drawings and students who were still feeling the thrill of mark-making and scribbling.  I noticed onet student who is able to meet the criteria, but struggled to follow directions.  I'll want to keep and eye on that.
I'll be printing out those adorable kindergarten class photos and putting their books together. Great work kindergartners!  Next week we'll start our Line Unit.  Welcome to art.


  1. I am totally changing my lesson plans for tomorrow!!! I was going to do self portraits but now I'm bringing in my Brown Bear book and doing this!!! COOL IDEA ! THANKS!

  2. Hola Barbara!!! muchas gràcias por seguir mi bloc la plàstica a l´escola

  3. El placer is mio. Me gusto mucho visitando su blog.

  4. Hi Barbara,

    My first day of student teaching (5 yrs ago) my cooperating teacher had the kinders draw a self portrait and she went over with me how she used it for an assessment. I was so amazed at the time I used it in my teaching portfolio and referenced it with Viktor Lowenfeld's Stage's of development theory. Anyways, I love the ELA tie in and the way you bind it into a book for each class. What a great thing to use for open house too! Love it Love it Love it! :)