Collaborative Circle Blog

Being a Reader and Making Meaning Grading Support, Grades K–1

Kindergarten and first-grade teachers of Making Meaning and Being a Reader, let’s jump right into the hot topic of assessments and grading!

Assessments

Let’s start by considering the best practices in assessment as outlined in Best Practice: Bringing Standards to Life in America’s Classrooms, 4th ed., and in the Introduction of the Making Meaning Teacher’s Manual:

  1. Read the two quotes.
  2. Reflect on your own “best practice” for gathering and using assessments.
  3. Consider how you are using the assessments in Being a Reader and Making Meaning to make instructional decisions about students’ development over time.

“Best practices assessment focuses on the knowledge and abilities that are key to best practice learning, and on complex whole outcomes and performance of writing, reading, researching and problem solving rather than only on isolated subskills.”

—Zemelman et al., 2012

“The assessment component of the Making Meaning program is designed to help you (1) make informed instructional decisions as you teach the lessons and (2) track your students’ reading comprehension and social development over time. The expectation is that all of your students are developing—at their own pace—into readers with high levels of comprehension and that they can each develop positive, effective interpersonal skills and values.”

Making Meaning Teacher’s Manual

As we transition to grading, consider the following questions:

  • How do the assessments connect to how students are developing at their own pace?
  • How does the information from these assessments inform supporting individual students?

To learn more, read our blog, “The Power of ‘Most, Some, or Few.’

Grading

Let’s continue the conversation by focusing on grading. At Collaborative Classroom, we realize there are a number of reasons educators assess students. One reason is to get a grade. Teachers across the country have asked, “How do we get grades in the Being a Reader and Making Meaning programs?” In response, Collaborative Classroom is pleased to offer the following: Being a Reader and Making Meaning Grading Support, Grades K–1.

Kindergarten and first-grade students represent an array of diverse backgrounds, early literacy experiences, and print knowledge. The development of reading skills and strategies is rapid across these early grades of literacy instruction as skills and strategies are introduced, practiced, internalized, and mastered. Because each student’s literacy development varies and is multifaceted, it is critical that teachers recognize and document growth, as well as use data to make intentional instructional decisions.

The Being a Reader and Making Meaning Grading Support, Grades K-1 document aligns the instruction in the Being a Reader and Making Meaning programs to the in-program assessments to help teachers do the following:

  • Utilize observation and assessment to identify each student’s strengths and instructional needs.
  • Track and evaluate students’ academic growth and progress along the continuum of reading development.
  • Communicate students’ performance on specific learning criteria over time.

Download the Being a Reader and Making Meaning Grading Support, Grades K-1 document and read the Introduction. Before proceeding, make a list of the ways you have gathered grades for reading in the past. Then, as you explore the specific grading opportunities offered throughout the document, consider what is consistent with your grading practices and what might be new. Consider how you will use this document to support you in gathering information about your students’ progress towards intended outcomes and in assigning grades accordingly.

It is our hope that these grading supports for grades K-1 of the Being a Reader and Making Meaning programs will help you get grades and make informed instructional decisions as you teach Being a Reader and Making Meaning lessons and track your students’ literacy development over time.

Please share your reactions and how you have used these grading supports with the Collaborative Classroom Community on Facebook.

Reference
Zemelman, S., Daniels, H., & Hyde, A., (2012). Best Practice: Bringing Standards to Life in America’s Classrooms, 4th ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.