Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mmm...Cupcake Assessment!

Yummy as they are, we don't use them for eating in our classroom... we use them for assessment!

You may have seen the following picture from my classroom and have been left waiting to hear what it's all about.

The idea of cupcakes for assessing came from one of my sweet teammates, and most of our school has adopted it! I believe that my teammate originally found the idea on Jessica Meacham's site, but after a while searching I couldn't seem to find it.

So, here it is... we have four different cupcakes:

  1. Cupcake Liner
  2. Cupcake Without Icing
  3. Cupcake With Icing
  4. Cupcake with Icing and Sprinkles
We talk about what kind of cupcake they would ideally like to eat, and of course everyone wants the cupcake with sprinkles. You can use these cupcakes to relate to behavior, quality work, or understanding of a topic-- I do all three.

A 1 cupcake (cupcake liner) truly has nothing there. The student is off task and is not doing what they are supposed to be doing.

A 2 cupcake (cupcake without icing) is doing something, but isn't quite at the requirements.

A 3 cupcake (cupcake with icing) is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

A 4 cupcake (cupcake with icing and sprinkles) is doing MORE than they are supposed to. If you look at that fancy cupcake we picked for number 4, you can tell there is something special about it!

I have this set up on my cabinet to show kids the kinds of work and behaviors that are at each cupcake. (I had kids stage some of them)

As you can see, in the 4 cupcake, there is something special happening that I pointed out. For our kindergartners, writing sentences with sight words instead of just words is a 4 cupcake. That boy is modeling how we show that we are making connections when we are reading. He isn't just reading, but he is really thinking about what he is reading.

Now, back to the cupcake assessment you saw at the beginning.

Sometimes I create a chart similar to the one above for a certain topic. We had done some front loading for 3D shapes (kids watched a video, talked about 3D shapes with parents and found examples of shapes to bring) before we started the unit in my classroom. So, I used the cupcake pictures and a sentence to model knowledge at each level. This was a picture from the first few days of our study, but kids moved their dots  with my supervision when they could prove that they were at a new level of knowledge. 

TIP: Do not have the students do this with everyone watching. Instead, call them up individually or a few at a time. If you have them do it with everyone watching, they will just put their sticker where their best friends did!

If your school is pushing formative assessment, or if you enjoy knowing where your kids are at and helping them to rate themselves, give it a try!

Sorry that I don't have the cupcake pictures for y'all. I don't think I had the right to distribute the pictures I have in my classroom. If I get a chance sometime soon, I will see if I can find some to give away for free!



christine said...

I've anxiously awaited this post and can't wait to implement in my class! Thanks for your great work!

kmax said...

This is just great! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Tammy said...

Thank you for sharing this. I hoping to hear more about it. I especially like how you took pictures of your kids. Very cool!
Forever in First

Chrissy said...

This is AWESOME!

CancelBlogger said...

I LOVE this!!!!! I've been waiting for you to post more info as well...I SO want to implement this in my room!!

Anonymous said...

Hi! We love this method of assessment! What a great way to bring it to your student's level :)

We featured your post at our blog, Kindergarten Lesson Plans. You can find the full feature here:


We were sure to give idea/photo credit, as well as a link to your blog, but we'd love for you to take a look at it. If there are any problems, we'll be certain to take the feature down immediately!

Thanks so much,

Kayla Johnson

My Kindergarten Kids said...

I love this so much! Thanks for sharing - really want to try this with my class! :)
My Kindergarten Kids

Freckleteacher said...

Perfect pictures for your assessment with cupackes. I found an illustrated one here.

It is cute and has a fun rhyme with it too!

Giulia said...

I LOVE this idea! What a tangible way for students to see what you mean by their best work! I can't wait to try this in my classroom!
Thanks for sharing!!!