Our district has spent a lot of training and inservice on different ways to assess student learning. The areas that we focused on the most were Assessment FOR learning and Assessment OF Learning. I felt comfortable doing this in the classroom, but it became challenging for me to find ways to assess students' learning when it came to the library, as our time is so short.
Out of the two different ways to assess, Assessment FOR learning was definitely easier to do, as it is a natural way of teaching for me. I used a pocket chart to state the week's objectives for each grade level on laminated sentence strips. Each week, I wrote "I Can" statements and we discussed the target learning before the lesson.
This allowed me to gauge where they were on this learning target, and gave the students some direction as to what they would be responsible for understanding. Throughout the lesson, I would question the students, provide feedback, and adjust my teaching as necessary.
Assessment OF Learning proved to be more difficult for me to wrap my head around in regards to the library. My lessons generally ran 15-20 minutes, and students had 5-10 minutes to check out and go to centers before they left the library. There just didn't seem to be enough time to fit it all in. As a result, I made it a goal last year to be creative and find ways to do some Assessments OF Learning with the students. I decided to try it out with 2nd-5th grade on two different units: Destiny Searches and the Dewey Decimal System.
Learning how to search for books is an important skill that I really focus on with my 2nd-5th graders. I noticed that most of them typed in a topic in the search box and then hit return which defaulted to a "keyword" search. Unfortunately this didn't always get them the type of books that they were looking for, or it gave them way too many search results.
In the past I would spend the first week showing them the different search options (author, title, subject, series, keyword). Then, in the next week, I would have them practice doing different types of searches.
Last year, I decided to add in an assessment component. I created task cards with different types of search questions that covered the options that we had covered (author, title, subject, and series).
This year, I want to add one additional assessment piece, something that the students can actually put in their portfolio binder to show the skills that they were mastering in the library. So, I created a short 10-question quiz over the different types of Destiny searches.
Dewey Decimal System
Learning how to locate books is also an important skill, but it is often difficult for students to find them in the Non-Fiction section. They seem to roam aimlessly at times, and don't really understand how that section is arranged, despite the tour that we do in the beginning of the year.
To help introduce and/or review the Non-Fiction section, I've used a fantastic cartoon slideshow that I found. (You can see it here and there's another cartoon version here.) The kids really seem to grasp the concept, and we even make up hand motions to correlate with the different 100 sections. The kids got such a kick out of it that they even began to have contests to see who could go through the entire Dewey System and get each 100 section correct! :)
Last year, I also added in an assessment component. I created task cards with different questions that covered the 100 sections of the Dewey Decimal System. Again, I printed 4 to a page, and put them on a ring. As the students came to check out their books, I would flip through them. If the students got it right, they checked out their book. If they missed it or didn't remember, I used that time to reteach. It was super easy to implement, and is something that I can easily store to use again.
This year, I'm also going to add in an additional assessment piece, a short 10-question quiz, that the students can put in their portfolio binder to show the skills that they were mastering in the library.
I really like these quick Assessments OF Learning task cards. I can use them for assessment purposes, but can also put them in my Game Center. I'm working on creating more task cards right now on Fiction Genres, Poetry types and terms, and will even do one on the parts of a book and book care for my younger students. If you would like any of these items, please feel free to visit my TpT store or Teacher's Notebook.
I'm curious, though, if any one else has come up with other ways to assess students in the library? I'd love to hear your ideas!