What We Know

It’s that time of year again! Time to test my students to see what they know so I know what they need to learn and make a plan for how I’m going teach those concepts. I’ve been doing a lot of observations since the beginning of the year as far as observing my students and getting a sense for what they can do. The past two weeks have been full of informal and formal assessments.

I have been a teacher for 10 years (5 of those have been teaching preschool) and I have learned that students love to show off what they know. They love to learn new things and explore new concepts.

Tests don’t always have to be boring. A lot of my assessments for preschool age are oral or having the students do an activity. I might say, “Show me how you _______ (cut, write your name, make a pattern with these shapes, count to 4).” Other tests might be hidden by a more exciting activity like, “Write your name in playdough.” Or “Count out 5 bears and play with them.”

Mother Goose Time’s  curriculum has all sorts of fun activities to do with your students that would help you assess what they know. I’ve listed a few below.

Literacy Games – These games help you see if your student can identify the letter, say the letter sound, and match the letter to the same letter, match it by uppercase/lowercase letters, or match by a word that starts with that letter.


Writing letters – This week, we played a game and I observed what the students could do. The students rolled an apple with the letters “E” and “L” on it. For those students who are a little older, we had them write the uppercase and lowercase letter. For the younger ones, we helped them identify which letter they rolled. Then, they took turns writing the letter they rolled on the paper. I observed as they wrote how they were holding the marker, and how they were forming the letters.


Scissor Skills – I have seen so much progress with this skill in all my students. We make a letter book each week and the students have to practice coloring in the lines and cutting on the lines to make their book. They are learning how to use scissors effectively. And since we practice this skill each week, they can see how much they are improving.


Puzzles – On my report card it’s listed as “Can fit small pieces together.” The students improve on this skill as we practice doing it each day. During free play, I’ll often get out puzzles. It’s amazing how many of them love working and solving puzzles. It’s another skill, like scissors, that you can see the student’s progress get a little better each week as we practice this skill.


Counting – I’ve tested the students counting a few ways. I’ve asked them to orally count for me. I’ve asked them to count out 10 objects and count them. And I’ve asked them to arrange the numbers 1-10 in order and count them. But, I think my student’s favorite way to count was when we did an activity this past week with play dough. I had the students use the counting cards and roll out that many balls. The number of balls they rolled out had to match the number on the mat. I could easily look and see, “Yes this student gets it.” or “No, this student needs more help with this skill.” It was a yes or no answer. Did they roll out the same number of balls as their mat said?


Patterns – The students used shape links to make a pattern. This was another one that I could easily look over at what they had produced on their table and say, “Yes they can make a pattern” or “no they need more help.” Either way, the students were having fun and it didn’t feel like a test, but I still got all the information I needed to get.


Assessments don’t have to take a long time and they don’t have to be boring for the student. A lot of times I have to test kids individually while their other friends are playing. This is when I pull out the really fun assessment games. Then, I get all the students asking me when it is there turn to come back and play with me.

Next week, we will continue our theme “Orchard Harvest” and we will learn about animals that live in orchards.


** I receive curriculum from Mother Goose Time for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. This is my 3rd year using Mother Goose Time, and I am pleased to promote quality educational learning experiences through play with Mother Goose Time!

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