Each January, my husband and I measure our kids and mark their growth on the doorframe. The kids huddle around the door to see who has grown the most — such a gratifying experience! My son told me one year, “I didn’t think I’d grown at all this year. But I did!”
The joy of looking back and assessing our growth never grows old! As teachers, we may look back on our first year in the classroom (or first month) and think about how we’ve changed and grown in experience. We can look at that stack of papers to be graded or lesson plans to be written and think about how much more effective we are now at managing our time than when we first started teaching…and let’s not even talk about meal planning and laundry!!
Bring that same self-assessment to your students before they head off for the winter break.
Don’t Head for the Holidays Yet!
The end of the calendar year usually brings with it a huge sigh. Time for a break! We’ll return to school in January refreshed and ready to start again with renewed energy, ideas, and (of course!) resolutions.
But before closing the chapter on this year, give your students a chance to self-assess their growth. My friend Megan wrote an awesome post about fixed vs growth mindset for the Middle School Mob blog cooperative. She offers some great activities to get your students thinking about how they view their own successes and failures.
Asking students to think about their work up to this time in the school year can give both you and your students insight into how the rest of the year should progress. That reflection is also the perfect segue into the new year.
How to Self-Assess
First: Brainstorm with your students a list of activities you’ve worked on so far this school year: book clubs, writing projects, blogging, research, experiments, independent reading, etc. Encourage your students to use their planners (they do use planners, don’t they?!) to review all that they’ve accomplished so far this year.
Make your list as extensive as possible. Step back and sigh! You have worked hard this year (and I’m talking about the teacher here!!!). Take a picture of your list and include it on your class blog or parent notes!
Second: Provide students with a few questions. You can use the free questionnaire I created for students (you can find it as a freebie on my TpT store: Midterm Self-Assessment) or you can create your own questions.
Ask students what they liked doing best, what they would like to do more of, how they improved so far this school year. Keep the questions positive — directing students to focus on where they have improved or seen growth in themselves.
If students keep a writing or project portfolio, they should review all the work they’ve done so far this year. I love doing this! I remember one year a student looked at the first writing assignment of the year and said loudly, “Did I write this? It’s horrible!” She obviously had felt she’d grown as a writer!
Finally: Be sure to include in the self-assessment an opportunity for looking ahead. What goals do students have for the second half of the school year? What else would they like to accomplish this school year?
(You can use the goal setter freebie from the Midterm Self-Assessment freebie in my store if you like.)
You may want students to set their goals after they return from break.
Looking back — Looking forward
Self-assessing is a powerful tool! I hope you’ll be able to take a few minutes to offer this to your students. Save those self-assessments that are done in December and review them in January and again at the end of the school year.
Giving students an opportunity to assess their own growth, is more than a hatch mark on a doorframe. It’s a lifelong tool!