When I first started teaching kindergarten, I followed a school purchased math program, which began with zero and systematically marched forward laying the foundations of early number sense. I soldiered through each scripted lesson, ignoring the fact that many of my students could already recognize most, if not all, of these early numbers. It didn’t take long to realize that this was an unnecessary waste of time. However, before Play-Based Centers, I just didn’t feel I had the time to check in with each student individually to assess their early math skills. It was difficult enough to find time to do post-lesson assessments, let alone pre-tests or mid-topic assessments to check for understanding. In general, it is extremely challenging to do whole-class assessments with early elementary students. And some assessments simply must be completed one to one or in very small groups. What was I supposed to do with the rest of the students while I assessed one at a time?!
Play-Based Centers is an assessment game-changer. Now during daily PBC block, while the students are actively engaged in their play, I can quickly and easily complete whatever assessments are needed.
For example, in early September, I did mini push-ins during PBC, asking each student to identify numerals on flashcards. It took about 30 seconds per student and I soon had timely data showing exactly who knew what. This was a quick, informal assessment that immediately informed my teaching plans. I now knew which numbers to review during whole-class instruction, as well as which students should be pulled during PBC for some additional pre-lesson support.
This is one of the many reasons I love PBC- it helps me to work smarter, not harder!
Play on my friends!