Q. Without tools like Can Do statements, how are we supposed to evaluate what our students can do?
A. Why is it so important to evaluate what our kids can do with he language, esp. at such an early age? They can’t do much with it, certainly, any more than a three or four year old child can. What we do when we “evaluate” (it may be an evaluation to us but it’s a test to the child) threatens the emotional safety of the child. If a child feels as if she can be judged or not when attempting a (very neurologically challenging!) task like a Can Do statement, if a child is judged and made to feel that she can be wrong, then she can’t learn. Could you? This kind of judging and branding has gone on for far too long in our schools. Any activity that is good for language and literacy development has to be pleasurable, as Dr. Krashen has said. The new frontier in this work lies, in my opinion, lies our ability to first make our classes pleasurable for all the students in the class and second, to find ways to assess our students authentically in ways that do not shame them.