Are you a parent, figuring out what to work on with your child at home? Are you a teacher trying to teach online? The COVID-19 experience has revolutionized distance learning and created an even greater need for parent-teacher communication!
My name is Melanie LiCausi, and I am a mom of three, a classroom teacher, and trying to homeschool for the very first time! At least it feels that way while all the schools are closed.
Having the unique experience of being on both sides of distance learning has given me the chance to notice a few things…
It’s hard to know what your child really needs help with when there’s so much content taught each year.
It’s hard to know what my child really needs help with when there’s so much content taught each year.
Missing several weeks of school brings up a lot of questions for me, such as what have they not covered yet?
What has day already covered that my child hasn’t mastered yet? Are is my child still going to have to do a standardized test at grade level?
Will they be ready for the next grade level?
There’s a million free websites and practice pages out there, but which ones do I choose?
No one knows exactly how long school will be out at this point. I’d rather not wait till the end of the year to find out that we missed you many things.
I personally hate wasting time, and I want to make sure my kids are ready for next year no matter when it starts.
To keep things SIMPLE, I’m using these quick 2-page assessments, 1 each day, as an easy way to make sure that my student is on track.
Each one is targeted to one standard for that grade level so you KNOW they’ll be doing something useful, and you’ll be able to see how much they’ve learned this year.
The resource is called Leveled Assessments and includes one two-sided page for every single math standard at grade-level. This format is based on research that suggested that breaking learning goals into levels steps, helps kids learn more! (See Marzano Proficiency Scales for more information.)
These are called Leveled Assessments because they are designed to be completed step by step. Level 1 starts with the easiest skills related to the standard, and progresses to harder ones as they move up each level. In levels 1 and 2 students can quickly review content from previous year’s. The learning goal is written in simple language for students to understand. They are also labeled with the standards from other grade levels, when applicable. At level 3 they demonstrate mastery of grade level skills. If the content has been covered this year, they should be able to at least get through the problems independently. The answer key will be a life saver here! If they’re getting everything right, they can take a stab at the challenge questions at level 4!
Why four levels? Well, the idea of differentiation has been around for a long time. This basically means that children learn differently and have different levels of readiness to absorb content. Teachers have to figure a child’s starting place in order to move them forward effectively. An educational researcher named Marzano, found that students make more progress using this approach. In early childhood it’s called “scaffolding,” which basically means, breaking a learning goal down into easy , manageable steps. These original Leveled Assessments are based on the 4-point proficiency scale model that he recommended. (See Art and Science of Teaching)
His research was so compelling that thousands of school districts around the country now require teachers to post 4-point content scales in their classrooms.
Let me explain how they work…
The students starts at level 1 and does each section in order. The answer key in the back will tell you if they’ve got it. Even the written answers have sample explanations so there’s no guesswork.
Level 3 is grade level work, so if they can pass that, Awesome!! Move on to another topic.
If you know your child is advanced, or has advanced potential, you can start them at level 3, to prove they’ve mastered grade level skills, then try the challenge problems in level 4. Level 4 is meant to challenge their thinking and application above grade level.
The best thing about this kind of assessment is that you don’t have to remember all of your own math schooling, or know how to make problems easier for your child. The leveled steps are there for you as simpler examples of the same skill or concept.
You don’t have to worry about knowing state standards*, or figuring out how to explain them. Every standard has been laid out for you with kid-friendly learning goal statements in each section, problems to demonstrate competence, and an answer key to check work.
If you’re a teacher, and your school requires scales, you may already have this document! I just revised these assessments so that each domain is separated into individual documents. This will make it easier for teachers to assign specific domains for your students to practice weak areas. The smaller file sizes will be simple to upload to whatever digital interface you use to share online assignments.
You may also want them to have exposure to the standards you didn’t get to cover yet! As long as students move through each level one at a time, they will see the learning objective from previous years, and be able to review last year’s skills before trying the new content.
This leveled experience of math helps students build confidence by starting with easy wins and working up through more challenging tasks. Having students work on actual paper, instead of online only, also provides some documentation they can turn in for you to review. You can also download Google Chrome browser extensions such as Kami, which allow students to write and draw on pdf files and submit their work electronically through Google Classroom. Yeah for easy!
If you notice that your child is having a lot of trouble, then you’ll have some example work to share with their teacher. He or she will be able to help you with more instruction or direct you to the right practice resources.
How do you know this will be any good?
“2nd Grade Math Assessment with Marzano Scales Aligned to Common Core” from Maureen DeVoss. – March 27, 2020
Comment: “This was a wonderful way to help us build proficiency scales for standard based report cards and assessments. It gives a solid way to look at how the students are progressing or exceeding in a specific skill. This are also going to be a wonderful addition when we are looking to reteach and reassess on a specific standard.”
Rating: 5/5 (extremely satisfied)
You can grab these quick assessments for grades 1 through 8, at www.mrslsleveledlearning.com or teacherspayteachers.com at Mrs. L’s Leveled Learning Store. Here’s a list of links for Leveled Math Assessments. You can also find ELA resources structured in a similar way.
I will also be discounting these resources until Easter Sunday.
Once you know how your students are doing, you can assign some meaningful practice activities that are easy, fun, and free! Here are three of my favorite Math websites for skills practice.
They are FREE! They are fun! They offer students through a simple progression of skills practice from easiest to hardest in each domain of math learning.
Click on Grade Level – Search games by Domain
Click on Story Math – Choose a Domain, such as “Addition” or “Multiplication”. Do each level in ORDER from easiest to hardest. I assign one level per day (set of 5 problems). Their home computer will keep track of the stars they’ve earned at each level. ;D Yeah! You can even have them send you a screen pic when they’ve completed every level of story problems. Visual “Thinking Blocks” are the BEST!!!
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Register your student or child for one grade level. Practice activities are organized by skill and Domain, such as “Addition & Subtraction”, “Geometry” or “Measurement.” Teachers can assign specific skills to practice, and student accuracy is recorded. Yeah for Easy!
Usually the classroom teacher sets this up for your child for their grade level. Practice activities are organized by skill and Domain, such as “Addition & Subtraction”, “Geometry” or “Measurement.” Teachers can assign specific skills to practice, and student accuracy is recorded. Yeah for instant organization!
This is Melanie LiCausi from Mrs. L’s Leveled Learning. Take care of yourself! Take care of your children! And I hope this work makes your life a little bit easier.
* The standards for Leveled Assessments are based on the original Common Core, which most states still follow, even if they have changed the name, or made modifications. If you live in the following states then your standards are significantly different, and this resource may not be helpful for you:
Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia.