Mid-year Assessment

A few weeks ago I wrote about creating my mid-year assessment for math. (You can read it here.)

During our second week of online learning I scheduled some 1:1 time with all the children who were working with me virtually. I had created the assessment as a series of PowerPoint slides, so it was easy for me to share my screen and ask the questions. This week we have been back in class, but two of those days were inclement weather days and I only had a few students. That made both days great days to sit with those in attendance. Out of nineteen students I only have six left to sit with. I could have had them done this week if I had given up my preparation time to work with the students, and that was my original plan. Alas, other tasks took priority and I will now have to finish next week.

The first two students I met with did exactly what I expected them to do. The first did surprise me by using very inefficient strategies. But when I prompted them to try some of the other strategies we have talked about they were used without trouble. At times that child even tried to use some strategies that were not going to work at all, but they still wanted to try. Every time they eventually landed on a strategy that worked beautifully. The next student completely surprised me by using several strategies very efficiently, and then by describing the strategy clearly and concisely. When asked how many beads were on the left of the math rack (picture below), the child said, “One hundred. That’s my estimate but I’m going to check…10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100!! My estimate was right! I said to myself ‘It’s probably 100’ and I was right!” Time and time again the students surprised me either because they were able to solve a problem I wasn’t sure they’d be able to get, or because they were so articulate in describing their strategies.

It’s been a really rough year and there have been many times when I have thought my time has been completely wasted. Maybe not all of it, but I certainly haven’t felt 100% effective with my math teaching in particular. Completing these interviews has helped me see that we have made a lot of progress. If I compare the results to the interviews I completed in September, I can see so much growth in so many of my students. I also see exactly what we need to work on.

Today I am working on report cards. I am using the data I collected in the interviews, as well as other information, to report on everyone’s math progress. I’m also going to do some tracking so I can see what trends exist. Then I’ll really know exactly what to focus on next. It’s all a giant mess in my “virtual learning notebook” right now because organizing my own work continues to be my personal most frequent next step.



This week we had to pivot to online learning. There are a few topics I have figured out that are really good for online learning. One of those topics is telling time. The curriculum expectations for time are:

Grade 2 is in yellow and grade 3 is in blue.

I think this is a good topic for at-home learning because there are some very active things we can do instead of staring at the computer all day. It’s also easy to find meaningful worksheets that those who are not meeting with us online can finish at home with their parents.

Telling time, however, is a topic that I often wonder about. Is it really useful to today’s children? When I asked them to tell me the time, every kid could do it. They looked at their computer screen and that was that. The digital clock is right there.

The grade 2 expectations make a lot of sense to me. Kids do need to develop a sense of the time it takes to do something. I had them talk about some things that might take an hour, or a minute, or a second, or longer to complete. We timed ourselves to see how long it would take to touch the front door, the back door. We talked about relative time when I asked them to touch a bedroom pillow. That wasn’t long for some who are working in their bedrooms but it was longer for those working at the kitchen table.

The grade 2 expectations are a little more challenging. Digital clocks are no problem at all, although some aren’t quite sure how to say the time when they see it. 9:00 is “nine o’clock” but some want to call it “nine zero zero”. It’s easy to clarify that for them. 9:15 could be nine fifteen, or quarter after nine, or fifteen after nine. Again, it doesn’t take long to get everyone to start saying this the right way, and we will have many practical opportunities to practice at home and at school. The analog clock is quite a bit more challenging, but after a few days all those who are working online with me are doing okay.

It does have me wondering if being able to read an analog clock is a skill that will become obsolete in the not-to distant future. I wear a watch, but it is digital and it’s really there tracking my movement through the day. If I need to know the time I always have my phone with me. Will there every come a time when analog clocks disappear?