You oughta know about assessment flowers. Assessment flowers are a terrific formative assessment strategy that I use with my students at the beginning of the school year and again with the same topics at the end of the school year. This lesson ties in nicely with goal setting and fits perfectly with student portfolios. Assessment flowers are easy to make and they only take about 20 minutes to complete. I have done this lesson with grade 2, grade 3, and grade 4 students. Assessment flowers are great at the beginning of the school year because you, as a teacher, will get to know your students better from these little flowers. Assessment flowers are also a terrific way for students to physically see their confidence in their abilities grow.
How do you make assessment flowers?
Making assessment flowers are easy. Choose 3 subjects that you would like your students to focus their growth on, and 1 subject that you know will allow the students who have low self esteem in their academic abilities can shine in. I usually choose reading, writing, math, and P.E. (P.E. being the non academic subject that almost everyone in the primary grades can give themselves a big flower in). Next have students write these subjects along the bottom of a blank piece of white paper. After that, explain to students that they are going to draw a flower for each of these subjects. The flower that you draw is going to represent how you feel about your ability to do your work in that subject.
I usually do a demonstration on the white board by walking students through how I would make my own assessment flowers. I talk the class through my thinking about why my flowers are the size that they are. For example for my assessment flowers I would draw a big flower with colourful petals and lots of leaves for reading because I love to read, I read a lot, and I see the movie in my mind when I’m reading and thats how I know I’m a good reader. I am really honest with the class, and I will tell them my math flower is smaller because math has always been a struggle for me. I sometimes need extra practice and thats okay because I always do my best and ask for help when I need it. The main idea is if you are good at the subject you need to make a big and colourful flower with lots of details, or if you need improvement your flower is smaller with lots of room for growth.
The symbolism of the flowers is important because it shows that even though your math flower might be small now it can grow with a little extra time, patience, and practice. This also goes for other flowers that might be so big that it is meeting the top of the paper, there is still always room for more growth.
What do you do with the assessment flowers?
I like to keep the assessment flowers in the student’s portfolios with other student work samples and reflections. It is important to explain to students that we are creating these assessment flowers at the beginning of the year as a starting point, so that we can see how much growth we all have made throughout the school year. After the class has completed their final assessment flowers at the end of the school year, they can then compare their beginning of the year flowers with their end of the year flowers and see the growth they have made throughout the school year.