It's been CR.A.ZY here getting ready for back to school. I've been working in my room, setting up new procedures and things I want to try this year, and meeting some of my new little ones. I also have some super exciting news to share. This year I am going to be bringing you all some reviews of some Carson Dellosa products. I get the opportunity to be an ambassador for Carson Dellosa. This post is the first of my reviews.
The product that I am going to share with you is the new common core assessment record book. Let's start with the basics. These record books are grade level specific. Since I am a kinder teacher that is the book that I am looking at. Let's talk about the book construction itself. The cover is a medium weight glossy stock paper with a spiral binding. It's 8.5 x 11 in size. There are no tabs or marking on the side that would note or mark where different sections start or end. What I like: I like the size and thickness of this record book. The ones we are issued at school are ginormous! As in so big that it do not easily fit into my teacher bag. This book with fit beautifully.
Let's move to the inside of the book. The first page (shown in part above) is broken into several sections. There is a book plate area to enter your personal information, a table of contents, and a "how to" guide. I wanted to show you this section because I find it very helpful to understanding how this record book could be used successfully in a standards driven classroom. Yes I know we all teach to standards but we are not all assessing and recording grades that way. Many districts are still asking letter grades. This chart shows that not only do I have a place to mark a "grade" by nine weeks, there is also a large area for me to keep notes on how that child is progressing. Some differences in this grade book compared to a traditional grade book: first the students have a column that is theirs. The standards are listed down the left hand side of the two page spread. There are 4 squares per standard that you can mark progress and date of assessment in.
Now let's flip over to one of the sections... Counting and cardinality. This section is set up like all the other sections in the record book. The first page of the section is a list of the Common Core standards for that section, in this case counting and cardinality. There is one complete standard per box and the standard is listed on the left hand side of the table. If a standard has several parts it is contained within the one box.
The facing page has a crosswalk showing what pre K would have introduced, if the child attended an academic pre K, and shows where counting and cardinality fits into what first grade will be learning. In the case of counting and cardinality, kindergarten is the only grade where these standards are taught but in the crosswalk these standards are tied to first grade base ten knowledge.
So there is a walk through the record book. Can we talk about my personal thoughts? Well I guess you can't tell me no, so on we go. My initial reaction to a standards based record book was "not something that I can use". We are forced to use a letter system with our kinders, which doesn't necessarily line up with the standards. I was stumped as to how this might be useful in my teaching life, then I spent some time with this record book. Here is what I'm thinking. I still have to teach to the standards and I have to show that my children mastered specific standards. This record book would be a helpful tool in showing this to parents as well as keeping my notes in one place. I love the construction of this book, but I wish that there was some kind of tab that would allow me to flip quickly between sections. I can fix that easily enough so it wouldn't stop me from buying it. I am looking forward to using this as a way to really know what my students are doing. I love that the book is set up so that one student has a column to record their scores in. This will allow me to copy, cut, and paste their scores onto our conference form. I think that this is the direction that we need to move in education, that is, we need to stop giving letter grades and start really looking at the standards and how our students stand up to those standards.
*I am a Carson Dellosa Ambassador and the materials for this review were sent to me at no cost to myself. The ideas and opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not necessarily the thoughts or opinions of Carson Dellosa.