Exciting days this week in our division. We are about to provide training to more than 40 educators for the Help Me Tell My Story Assessment. Eleven schools will now be involved with Aski and all those Aski’s are just waiting to become part of their new schools. I have never been involved in an assessment initiative that is so well received by educators AND is just plain old good for kids. This assessment was created by Saskatchewan educators for Saskatchewan educators. It is delivered by a turtle on an ipad. If you have just said “What?” or uttered some other form of surprise, fear not. That was exactly my reaction when I got involved with the project. It is not an uncommon reaction.
I recently received an email from Principal Greg via Teacher Brenda. She has introduced Aski to her Kindergarten students and I sense that the classroom community loves having Aski in their midst.
“I’m tying in the first book about Aski (Aski & Turtle Island) in with the circle book that is part of the treaty curriculum. Aski comes out to tell his story from the book to the children and answer the questions. They are just oblivious to me. One asked “where is Teacher?” I was behind the book. The kids really like him and talk about him often. He sleeps in a place we can see his shell. He has talked about missing his family and friends and mentioned that he will be going to visit them soon.
The kids usually make puppets fight, but are amazingly gentle when they touch him and they hug him goodbye when he leaves. So far, it’s going well. I’ve told them he is an old turtle. We’ve been learning about turtle life cycles and other facts as well. We also talk about respecting adults, personal space and manners when he is here.
I made a coloring book for them to add pictures to as a follow up for our time with Aski. They are remembering his information very well. We have a turtle craft planned too. I will share the other Aski stories with the projector and ipad (all books available as an ebook from the Apple App store).”
My heart warmed when I read the text in that email. The contextual piece to this assessment makes it part of every day classroom practice. No better way to assess our Littles, I’d say!