A Phonics Assessment Strategy That Works
Completing a phonics assessment with your students can be a tedious and sometimes dreadful task. It can be difficult to keep them motivated and to keep your other students busy, especially if you are having to do one-on-one assessments. However, can you picture yourself sitting with a student for less than five minutes to assess specific phonics skills and have everything you need? I am here to help you make that dream a reality.
Using A Game Model To Assess Phonics Skills
According to the American Test Anxiety Association, 16-20% of students have high test anxiety. So, one way to counter this is to make the assessment seem not like an assessment
If you have read my previous posts, then you know I love to use Pop The Balloon as a guided reading warm-up. Well, have you ever thought about turning the game into an assessment? To explain Pop The Balloon really quickly, students receive a card. This card has 5 different words/sounds pertaining to a certain skill. For example, if we are learning and reviewing the /ai/ sound, it will have five words with the /ai/ sound. Students will start at the bottom of the balloon and read all five words and then POP! (goes the fake balloon). It’s a fun way to review and practice words and I use it as a guided reading warm-up before our lesson. You can read more about this simple guided reading game in this blog post.
When you think about it, this game is already a type of assessment. You may not use it that way, but now you can!
Make Your Assessment Quick, Painless, and Simple
Just like the warm-up is five minutes, this assessment should not take five minutes. This assessment should be quick, easy, and painless. When your student sits down, they should have the card in front of them and say the words/sounds that are on the card.
To make it seem even less like an assessment, use some manipulatives (like all those Target mini erasers you have laying around). They’ll read the word and if they’re correct, they get to put the eraser on top. You’ll know they could read them all if there is an eraser on top of every word.
It’s Not Intimidating
Assessments can be intimidating, which can affect how your students perform. If you’re already using these for your warm-ups, students won’t realize that you’re assessing them. They’ll think it’s a simple warm-up that they get to do with you individually. You can actually even use it in your guided reading groups as you typically would. You would just want to make sure your focus student had the correct card and that you were able to give your attention solely to that student.
How To Make This Phonics Assessment Work For You
Are you interested in making these warm-ups work for you as a phonics assessment? I have made this very simple for you to do:
1. Running record sheets are included. Each Pop The Balloon pack has been updated to included a running record sheet. You can use this sheet during your guided reading groups if you are doing an informal assessment. However, it will also work if you are doing a formal assessment. Just make sure to note what type of assessment you are doing next to the date.
2. Decide how many words/sounds you will use. Make sure to use that card/cards for every student so that your assessment is consistent with every student in your classroom.
3. Decide if you will use these cards in your actual groups. Will your students remember them? Probably not. There’s numerous cards and they probably won’t remember. However if you’re worried about students remembering and making the assessment inconclusive, then keep them out of your guided reading warm-up pile. There are plenty of cards in each deck to make it so that you can take a few out.
Are you ready to try these out for your phonics assessment? Imagine yourself on that dreamy island with quick assessments that your students won’t even realize are assessments! You can check out our Pop The Balloon! right here.
Want to try these cards out for free? Sign up below to receive your free CVC Pop The Balloon! cards to complete a phonics assessment!