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HDFS 421 Final Portfolio Instructions 1

My understanding of assessment as a professional is based on the principle that it guides my teaching by linking it the
curricula through the use of authentic assessment, scaffolding lesson plans to address the varying needs of children in the
class and reflecting on my practice by examining children’s progress, strengths and weaknesses based off various
assessments. An educator must assess a child on many different areas of development in order to gather accurate and
relevant information of the whole child. Since children develop at varying rates, some tools such as the observational
checklist are ideal to use when looking at the whole classes developmental progress. It is a quick assessment that uses a
tally system to examine different developmental domain and write down a variety of milestones within each domain. Lab
2 required that I observe 6 children and place a numerical value determining whether the child showed mastery of the
skills, still developing the skill or did not have the opportunity to show the skill/observer did not observe the skill. The
checklist required pre-planning because I needed to know which categories to observe throughout the assessment to be
able to code them correctly.
For Lab 2, I observed a total of 6 children in the classroom ranging from 5 months to 13 months. I examined the
movement/physical development and social/emotional development. After examining the chart, I noticed that the children
were developing appropriately in social/emotional; however, the low percentages in movement/physical development
meant that this was an area that I needed to focus on. For the assignment, I created an activity plan that was scaffolded to
address the learning objective “use body parts to reach a goal” from the MSU Children’s Curriculum (MSU, 2017).
For the activity in Lab 2, I decided to focus on balancing. It involved “bringing out the small balancing circles which
children can stand on. The teacher can help the child balance by taking the child’s hand and allowing them to apply
different pressure amount to your hand. To help a child that is struggling to balance, teachers can examine the child’s
stance on the board and start to correct it so their feet are not past their shoulders. Teachers can use objects that require the
child to reach which usually makes them lean on one foot more while still holding onto the caregivers had using their
other hand. Teachers can switch hands and replace objects based on age, grasp and interest. If a child is not ready to
balance but requires more work with crawling, the teacher can help the child by placing them on all fours or helping them
bend their knees and place it underneath their belly requiring them to lift. If a child is not ready to crawl and still requires
tummy-time, then the teacher should place them on their tummy with a variety of objects on either side which will require
the infant to turn their head and eventually body to the object.” (Ayers- Hanes, 2018, p. 13). This plan supported the
different levels of movement/physical development.
As an educator, I learned that although I had a wide range of students at different milestones, I can create activities
that are engaging and can be utilized to develop certain skills. Therefore, by examining my whole class’s development in
one domain, I can strategically plan and incorporate the skill into the curricula using multiple lesson plans. Since each
child is different in their own way and develop at varying rates, I use assessment to guide my teaching and curricula. For
example: Lab 4 required me to apply time sampling and examine social play completed by 6 students during a set time
frame. I was able to see what types of play the children engage in, if it was developmentally appropriate and determine
how to scaffold their learning through modeling, reciprocal conversations and placing them in social situations.
The three objectives I focused on were “1. Develop the skills to initiate play and join a play group”, “2. Develop peer
friendship relationship skills which initiate, maintain, and terminate interactions” and “6. Perceive adults as sources of
HDFS 421 Final Portfolio Instructions 2

gratification, approval, and modeling” (HDFS, 2017). I have found that continuously introducing new toys and cycling
out different items between the morning and afternoon free choice increased certain children’s participation. Additionally,
when students showed me different toys, I would suggest that they invite Child B to play or talk to Child A and B
teaching them about the purpose of the toy, describing attributes, or modeling noises and behaviors that I expect the object
to make.
Assessments drive instruction. Thus, I must continue to observe and choose appropriate assessments to understand the
child’s development and how to approach certain task. I can continue to provide opportunities for learning through social
interactions, curiosity, inquiry, and meeting each child’s physical and psychological needs through play (Mindes & Jung,
2015). Paying attention to assessment allows me to increase my knowledge of my students and me by strategically
planning activities and applying my expertise as an educator to create leveled and engaging lessons.
Lastly from the teacher interviews, I have come to understand that early childhood educators must use
observations. The professionals provided insight into how and why they provide assessments. They used technology such
as IPads and specific programs or apps like Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG), High Scope’s Child Observation Record
(COR) assessment, Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), and Behavior Incident Reports (BIRs) to track children’s
development progress and behavior. These tools allow the teacher to play close attention to dates and times in which
behaviors occur or produce information on trends when a child is not progressing after a few months. As an educator, I
can take all the information gathered and determine the child’s strengths and weaknesses and produce a variety of
individual and classroom activities that will support child development.