Pre-assessment for Alphabetical Awareness in Kindergarten
Assessing the skills of your student from the beginning of your mutual relationship is one of the best ways to judge their level and prepare appropriate learning materials that cater to their growing abilities. In kindergarten, a single year can mean a world of difference in terms of mathematical awareness, language awareness, and other knowledge. This applies to ELL students even more than regular learners, since they will enter kindergarten speaking their home language rather than the classroom language.
Click the link below to access a set of flashcards I've created for ELL students. This learning app is excellent for new language learners because it uses audio-visual aids to present relevant and recognizable information effectively.
Shapes, Objects, Animals
There are two assessments. The first assessment checks whether students can recognize and name basic English words. They may have seen and heard these words on TV, or at their Japanese kindergarten. It gives me an idea of their awareness. Advanced learners can go a step further and say what letter each word starts with, or even spell the word.
The second assessment is of the English alphabet. The goal is for the student to say the letter aloud, and if possible draw the corresponding lowercase on a sheet of paper provided at the time of testing. The test can be done in reverse for advanced learners.
Based on this pre-assessment, I sort the students into three groups:
1) Students with high awareness of the subject matter (more than expected)
2) Students with moderate awareness of the subject matter (appropriate to the assessment)
3) Students with low awareness of the subject matter (little to no experience)
Students are then divided into specialized groups for differentiated learning. Click the link below to view a mind map that shows the routes taken for each group in regards to separate classroom instances of differentiated education.
It is through pre-assessments and differentiated experiences like this that students' talents can be fostered without overwhelming them with difficult materials or boring them with activities below their skill levels. The particulars of each student will vary depending on countless variables, but managing them to at least a basic degree will make a world of difference when engaging them and challenging them to learn.