Formative Assessment Based on Marzano Scales

January 27th, 2015 by Lori Rosenberg-Guest Blogger

Formative Assessment using Marzano Scales - Teacher Created Resources

Formative Assessment is critical for teachers to understand the areas their students comprehend, and the areas that need more work. It also helps students have a clear idea of learning goals. I use the Marzano Scales to check for understanding in my classroom. I decided this year that I was going to use the Marzano Scales predominately to access my students’ understanding of the weekly phonics skills.

Up until I had these Polka Dot Magetic Labels, I did frequent heart checks with my students. I would tell my students the learning goal for the week and articulate the specific target goals for each score. Then, my students would hold up 1, 2, 3, or 4 fingers to show their understanding. I created a “Showing my Understanding” anchor chart.

Marzano Scales

1 meant “I am just starting to learn this and I don’t understand it yet.”
2 meant “I am beginning to understand, but I still need a little help.”
3 meant “I understand this well and I can do it on my own.”
4 meant “I understand this so well, that I can teach it to others.”

Formative Assessment using Marzano Scale - Teacher Created Resources

This was working well, but once I saw these magnetic labels, I knew they would make the perfect formative assessment tool for monitoring learning goals and showing my students’ understanding. I paired the magnetic labels with my anchor charts and wrote a phonics goal on the whiteboard each week.

I labeled each magnet with my students’ names. After I articulate each target goal, my students place their magnet under the score that best describes their understanding ability at that moment in time. My target goals are very specific to the skill being taught, so my students know exactly where they score.

I love how the magnetic labels and anchor chart is very accessible to the children, as it allows them to move their magnet when they feel they are ready to move to the next score. The children enjoy being in charge of their learning and monitoring themselves as the week goes on. This display makes it very easy for me to help me monitor formative assessment, track my students’ progress, give extra help, if needed, and celebrate success.

Lori is the author of Teaching with Love and Laughter Blog. To see more creative learning ideas, visit Teaching with Love and Laughter. If you are looking for more formative assessment ideas, check out our formative assessment resources here.

100th Day of School Hat

January 14th, 2015 by TC Bear

100th day of school hat 1

The 100th day of school is coming up for many teachers and students. There are so many fun ways to celebrate. This 100th day of school hat project is a great idea for showing your students just how special they are and also reinforces counting and math skills.

100th Day of School Hat


  • 11 strips of paper (approx.  1″ x 11″). Note: 10 strips will be for the top of the hat, and 1 strip will go around the border trim.
  • 2″ wide strip of border trim  (for headband)
  • Art supplies such as stickers, beans, small pompoms or sequins, etc.
  • Glue
  • Stapler
  • Tape

100th Day of School Hat Directions:

  1. Fit the border trim to each student’s head and trim. Do not staple the headband together until the end.
  2. Use a paper strip to write “I am 100 Days Smarter!” Glue or staple the paper strip to the center of the border trim. Let dry.
  3. On each paper strip, put 10 small stickers or glue other small items on each strip. Try to leave an inch at both ends of the strip.  This will make it easier to attach the strips to the headband.  (Note: Making the 10 strips can be done over a period of days.)
  4. Tape the completed strips to the border trim.
  5. Have the students count the strips on the hat by tens to make sure there are 100 items!
  6. Glue the top of all 10 strips together.
  7. Celebrate the first 100 days of school!

Border trim used in photos is Fireworks Straight Border Trim

Find more 100th Day of School resources here.

Winter Bulletin Board: Smitten with Winter Words

December 23rd, 2014 by TC Bear

Winter Word Wall Teacher Created Resources

Looking for a way to reboot and kick start learning after winter break? Welcome your students back to class with a fun winter-themed “Smitten with Winter Words” Bulletin Board. This board isn’t just for looks, it’s a winter-themed word wall so students can practice vocabulary words.

Here are the decorative items we used to create this bulletin board:

Aqua Chevron Border
Multicolor Stripe Ribbon Runner 
Black Mini Polka Dots Scalloped Border Trim
Mittens Accents
Snowflakes Accents
Big Bold Black & White Circle Letters
5″ Bling Letters with Jewels
Aqua Chevron Name Plates
Black Polka Dots Name Plates (flat)


  1. Use white bulletin board paper as the background.
  2. The sides of the bulletin board will be trimmed with three layers of border to really tie in all the winter colors. First, staple the Aqua Chevron Border Trim around the edges. Then use the purple side of the Multicolor Stripe Ribbon Runner just so it peeks out a little from the Aqua border, then add the Black Mini Polka Dots Scalloped Border Trim as the inside layer.
  3. Add seven Mitten Accents to the top of the board. Then add the word “Smitten” on top of the Mitten Accents using 5″ Bling Letters with Jewels. Add the words “with Winter Words”.
  4. Add Snowflake Accents to the bottom half of the bulletin board, leaving about 15” of space between each snowflake in order to make space for the word name plates.
  5. Choose which Circle Letters you will be using for your winter vocabulary words and staple them to the center of the Snowflake Accents.
  6. Write vocabulary words on the Name Plates that correspond to each letter and add them to the bulletin board
  7. Add a couple more Snowflake Accents around the inside corners of the bulletin board and around the top.

Switch out the Circle Letters and Name Plates to create new winter vocabulary words every week. Another variation to this word wall is that you could put up new letters each week, and have the students come up with a winter word that corresponds to each letter.

Holiday Craft: Paper Plate Snowman

December 8th, 2014 by Brenda Stickland-Guest Blogger

Don’t you just love holiday crafts? I wanted to share a fun holiday craft I’ve been doing with my class every Christmas.

Paper Plate Snowman
By Brenda Strickland

•        1 large paper plate
•        1 chenille stick (pipe cleaner)
•        2 large pompoms
•        Orange construction paper scraps (for nose)
•        Red paper or fabric scraps (for scarf)
•        Large googly eyes
•        Crayons, felt pens or colored pencils
•        Glue
•        Scissors
•        Hole punch
•        Awl (optional)

Adult Preparation
Paper Plate Snowman Prep

1. Gather materials and arrange the work area. Draw two circles (cutting guidelines) on the paper plate to create the snowman shape.  Note that each circle is not complete.  Leave approximately one inch uncut on each circle line.  Draw a dot at each ending.

2. Determine ahead of time if you, or the young artist, will be punching the holes and cutting the circles, and if you will use an awl or not for step 6.

Making the Paper Plate Snowman

Paper Plate Snowman Steps

1. Punch the holes in the outer circle and cut around the line on the plate pattern.  Then do the same with the second, inner circle.

2. Carefully unfold the snowman to see the head and two body sections.  Make pencil marks on the smallest circle to mark where the eyes will go.  Then fold the plate back.  (It is easier to work on the face when the paper plate body is not extended.)

3. Add googly eyes, jewel smile, and a triangular construction paper nose.  If you wish the nose to stick out, simply bend the wider end and only put glue on the folded end, not the tip.

4. Add 2 pompoms and cut and bend a chenille stick to make the earmuffs.

5. Cut out a scarf out of construction paper and glue it to the snowman.

6. Once the plate is dry, unfold it and gently crease the fold lines to better display the snowman.

Paper Plate Snowman 6Paper Plate Snowman TCR Blog

Note:  Buttons, jewels, etc. can be used to enhance the snowman.  Our snowman’s mouth is made of green jewels!

Looking for more holiday craft ideas? Check out Art for All Seasons