Assessment in the Sonrisas Curriculum

One of the important changes in the recent revisions of Sonrisas Level I and Sonrisas Level II is the addition of the student assessment pages in the student portfolios. They serve as valuable summative assessments for teachers and students. Combined with ongoing formative assessments, the new student assessment pages contribute to the effectiveness of the Sonrisas Curriculum. Below is an explanation of how to use the different assessment pieces while implementing the curriculum.

In the Sonrisas Curriculum, you can assess your students’ progress using both formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments are ongoing assessments that monitor student learning and guide instruction. The goals for each lesson are listed in both the Communication Objective and the Language Outcomes. Keeping these in mind while you teach can help you assess the progress your students are making in achieving these goals, both through observation and by looking at their written work.

Through the songs, games, lesson activities, shared reading, and conversations during Story Time, Art Time, and Partner Time, you can get a very clear picture of how well each student is communicating. This type of formative assessment will guide which activities need review and practice in subsequent lessons. Of course, every student is different: Some perform much better in a group environment—while they are engaged in interpersonal communication—than they do during independent activities. Observational assessments can provide you with this insight.

You can also use students’ written work in Partner Time, Art Time, and Portfolio activities as formative assessments to see how well they have retained and integrated the Language Outcomes for each lesson. This will help guide which activities need more repetition and reinforcement. If you find that students are unable to demonstrate correct usage of the Language Outcomes, you can adjust your instruction to address their needs. Language concepts that need more work can be reviewed by doing lesson activities from previous lessons during Circle Time. You can continue this review until you feel that students are proficient with the language concepts. If need be, you can also repeat Partner Time and Portfolio activities.

Summative assessments evaluate student learning using specific metrics. The Student Assessment page in the Student Portfolio is a summative assessment that covers each lesson. It contains the Communication Objective for each lesson along with “I can” statements and a check box for each Language Outcome in the lesson. The Communication Objective and the Language Outcomes provide the metrics by which you can evaluate student learning. In order to achieve the Communication Objective, students need to demonstrate correct usage of the Language Outcomes. There are three different ways to fill out the Student Assessment page: You can do it, the student can do it, or you and the student can do it together.

If you are filling out the Student Assessment page without the student, use the art projects, Partner Time activities, Portfolio activities, and your observations to complete the assessment. Depending on the age and skill level of your students, they can fill out their own assessments by reflecting on the art project, Partner Time activity, and reviewing their Portfolio Activity as evidence for the assessment. (It’s worth noting that it can be very empowering for students to realize how much Spanish they have mastered.) Choosing to fill out the assessments with your students will give you the most accurate, complete summative assessment possible. If you are able to engage your student in Spanish during this assessment and observe their proficiency of the Language Outcomes, you will have the most accurate picture of their skills.

Keep in mind that each level of the Sonrisas curriculum is designed to be repeated for a second year. Chances are, your students will not fully achieve the Communication Objective the first time, which is completely acceptable. Ideally, through the repetition of the lessons in the curriculum and the ongoing review of lesson activities, students will master the Language Outcomes that support the Communication Objectives. We recommend keeping a copy of each student’s Student Assessment, so the second time you teach the lesson, you are able to note progress between the initial summative assessment and the second summative assessment.

Along with your own observations, the Student Portfolio is your most valuable assessment tool. Here are some tips that will help students keep their portfolios organized and tidy:

  • Keep several three-hole punchers on hand so that students can add work to their portfolios as soon as it is complete.
  • Give a mini-lesson on how to use the hole punchers accurately, including paying careful
    attention to placing the holes on the left side of the page.
  • Consider a place other than students’ desks to store portfolios. This will keep them in better shape throughout the school year.
  • For younger students, consider putting work in their portfolios for them.

Another option is to purchase an individual spiral-bound hard copy of the Student Portfolio for each student. You can buy these in bulk on the Sonrisas website.

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