I wanted to share this post from one of the teacher’s involved in the Help Me Tell My Story assessment in Saskatchewan. She discusses the impact the puppet Askî has had in her classroom and why the connection between her students and Askî is important to the success of the assessment.
The Holistic Assessment Approach identifies why complementary classroom material delivered prior to the assessment helps provide context for the assessment and improve the its success. This teacher’s post demonstrates this in practice (with some great pictures of course).
One day in October, my cell phone rang just as circle time began, I looked at the number and told the students , “I’d better answer this.” As it turns out, it was Askî’s mom telling me that Askî was on his way from the pond to meet us. The students were intrigued. “Who is Askî?” they began to say. We then heard some noise and soon discovered a turtle hiding in the room. The students were introduced to Askî and soon he became a regular friend in the room.
Askî joined us to sing songs and play. He was greeted by hugs and kisses daily. The students were always excited to see Askî. Askî became a character in our dramatic play. The students tucked him in when he was very tired and if you look very closely in the photo you will see someone gave him a little doll to hug. The students were excited to create their own little Askî babies and take them home.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the children had ownership of their little turtles as they were able to pick their baby turtle out of the bunch as they had carefully chosen the rock for the shell and the size and colour of eyes. As suggested by the students, he had to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for Halloween, of course, and came to school with his witch friend. It’s been months and the students still ask for and seek Askî out. Askî is everyone’s best friend. They play with him in the house centre, read with Askî, and share lots of giggles.
Aski went away a few days before our assessment day and mailed the students a letter about his special carnival and sent his favourite treat to share (Turtles, of course!) The students and parents were invited to Askî’s carnival. We had a bouncer, carnival games, face painting, balloon animals, and a pizza lunch. Younger siblings were invited to join us and parents enjoyed a half day of fun in a low stress environment while engaging with their child. Families were rotated throughout the day to complete the survey.
We are still working on getting parents more familiar with the caregiver site and are working on ideas to encourage that. Parents have been receptive to the learning ideas and like the idea. We are very interested to receive the kiosk for caregivers. Parents love the voice recording part of the child survey and that is the one area all parents want to listen to. The students enjoy Askî and the survey so much, if given an iPad to use my students will often be on the Help Me Tell My Story App.
Askî and the Help Me Tell My Story Assessment have provided my classroom with many fun opportunities that have engaged the children and put big smiles on their faces. We are currently working on ideas to use the assessment to build family engagement as it presents many opportunities. Askî will continue to be part of our classroom as no one is ready to say goodbye.