Proficiency Scales are all about helping students show growth in small steps instead of being overwhelmed by a year-end goal that seems way over their head. This video will walk you through one way to get your students understanding the scale. In this second grade geometry standard, students are asked to start classifying shapes according to their attributes. They are to put them in different categories by name, and make sure that they can identify the important attributes, which is an extension of the first grade standard. They practice doing this at level one, triangles have three sides, squares and rectangles have four sides. Those are some of the defining attributes of those categories, but not all of them. Let’s see how you can visually build on last year’s content for student’s to make lasting connections that facilitate progress in the standard.

Level 1

First, you want to make sure students can identify the most common categories of shapes. I would ask them to draw a rectangle and list the three most important attributes that help define a rectangle. If you have them do this on their paper, they probably won’t have only the defining attributes. They might have several, they might have only two or three. They might not remember all of them. This’ll be something you can look at when you go over their papers again, or when you go through the problem in class.

Level 2

At the second level of the scale, you want to look at several different categories of shapes and make sure that they can identify them, describe them or draw them. The four specific categories that they need to know are quadrilaterals, triangles, pentagons and hexagons.

I would ask a question like draw a Pentagon, describe the attributes that make a Pentagon. Again, depending on where your students are at, they might remember what a Pentagon is or not. We’ll give you a little more information than having them point color or circle pictures that are already on their paper. You want to know exactly which categories they already have memorized and which ones they don’t. They may think of a lot of different attributes for their Pentagon color, shape, size, but again, they want to start thinking about which ones matter and which ones don’t have them. Draw a picture, make a list on their paper, maybe circle the most important ones and this’ll give you a great idea of whether or not they’re ready to move on to level three.

Level 3

Level three in his scale is always your grade level expectation. Notice there are several specific shapes mentioned in the standard language. They have to identify and describe and draw triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons cubes, and hexagons. I have an example on my scale for second grade students because this goes on a wall and they can reference it all the time. Triangles of three corners or angles, quadrilaterals have four sides and four angles, so some of the defining attributes as an example, if you’re doing these questions as a test or post test, you want to cover that up, not have any clues or hints for your students.

Here’s an example of a level three problem that I might ask students to see where we’re starting this standard. Identify the shapes above. This one is a quadrilateral. They’d have to think about why the others aren’t. Draw another quadrilateral of your own.

This is a little harder because they have to understand the variety of shapes that can go into that category and how they would be different. They are to then describe three attributes of the quadrilateral, which have to be defining attributes because they would be the same for both the quadrilateral and the picture and the quadrilateral that they drew themselves. If your students are able to do this, you have a pretty good idea that they are all set on this standard as far as quadrilaterals. You might want to do this little pretest a couple of different days with a variety of shapes. Maybe make it a small group center activity, a mini lesson, a guided math lesson activity or maybe four or five days in a row. Start each math lesson with a little pretest. Make sure that they can identify the shape and list the defining attributes and draw another one of their own. If your students are able to do this and if you can collect those papers and take a look, you’ll have a great idea of who has already mastered this standard, what aspects they’re still missing and how you can plan the rest of your unit to get through the most important content quickly.

Level 4

Any of your students who are having a really easy time with this are ready for level four. That means they’ve mastered the third grade, the second grade standard at level three, and they’re ready for a challenge. One challenge could be asking them to explain and define every attribute that’s important. Asking them to come up with different shapes that fit into the same categories.

You’ll see a couple examples of explanations on the scale poster. I can compare and explain how these shapes are similar and different.

Name the shapes below.

Describe how they are similar.

Describe how they are different.

This is an extension of the same problem because you can start to introduce composite shapes, three dimensional shapes or you could stretch your students to make sure they can identify every quadrilateral that exists. Every type of triangle: equal lateral, isosceles, irregular triangles. Make sure your students have an advance knowledge and application of the standard and they would be functioning at level four.

I hope you found these examples helpful. You can find these posters and free samples of these posters at my website, I have a freebies tab. I also have a tab to my TPT store, so go ahead and check that out. If you would like to download free examples or find a complete set. Thanks so much for your time. Have a great school year.

You can find this resource in my TpT store. Follow the links to download a FREE Leveled Assessment and FREE Scales for this math standard and more!

Thank you to Kerri Z. for your feedback!

“These are amazing! I love the pictures to support the I can statements. Thank you. These have saved me hours and hours of work!”

 “Great resource for our district’s new Proficiency Based Grading system!”

– July 2019

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