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Category Archives: Communication tools

A few words on assessment

I just Googled the word “assessment” it came up with over 124,000,000 responses.  Clearly, assessments are everywhere, I can’t tell you how many different kinds we use, but I do want to share two that we have come up with that have proven very helpful.  We use these in the classroom, so that we have a clear picture of what the children understand, and we share them with parents, as a tool to show what their children have learned at school.

The first is a basic skills assessment.  This was developed for the preschool classrooms, and while the skills may seem very basic, they are exactly what we work on with preschool children.  The skills covered this particular assessment include;

Writing samples

2D Shape recognition

Upper and Lowercase letter recognition

Phonetic letter sounds

Number recognition

Number sequencing

10 Frames/Subitization



Days of the week and Months

This assessment pack (available on Teachers Pay Teachers) also has printable flashcards to help keep each child’s focus as you work with them.  We make one copy per child and use different colored highlighters to track their growth throughout the year. Image


The second assessment that we use is standards based.  We took all of Ohio’s Early Learning Development Standards and put them in a spreadsheet that follows the child throughout their development.  The Infant/Toddler version can be used for the first threes years of a child’s life, and the Preschool version can be used from the time a child turns 3 until they turn 6.  This allows teachers to record periods of growth, and parents can see exactly when their child reached certain milestones. These assessments are much longer and more comprehensive than the basic skills assessment, and we typically fill them out only once per year, you can find the Infant/Toddler version and the Preschool version on Teachers Pay Teachers.Image


These are only two of the many, many different forms of assessment that we use, but they are great tools for both parents and teachers!


The BEST way to share photos


One of my favorite teacher-parent communication tools is Smilebox. Smilebox is a tool that allows to drop their own photos into pre-made scrapbooks, collages, slide shows, and digital cards.  Smilebox offers premium services to teacher for free, so all of the designs are available for teachers to use.

Documentation of children’s learning is an important piece of what we do.  Sharing documentation with parents is a great way to make all of the learning that happens in the classroom very evident, and Smilebox makes it easy.  It also encourages conversations between parents and children as they watch a slideshow together.

After downloading this free program to your computer you can simply choose your format and theme.  Then you upload your photos from your computer or your camera and slide them into the spaces in the design. Smilebox allows you to choose color schemes, the level of embellishments that you want in your design, music to go along with your slideshow, and if you want journaling to go along with your photos. Not only can you email projects to parents, but you can also print the images to utilize in the classroom.

Smilebox makes it easy for teachers to share what the children have accomplished.  This is a tool that I could play with for hours, every time that I use it I find something new!