Track Goals with Stamp Sheets

Posted by Kara Parker on February 26, 2012 in 1 Planning, 4 Assessments, Class Routines, Most Popular, Proficiency

If you read my post about Real World Homework, then you already know that I love stamps. Next I created a similar document for the class objectives for the students and copied it on the other side. When students SHOW what they can do, I give them a stamp on that goal. It makes it about learning, instead of the grade.


The Stamp sheet helps me in so many ways!

1. It makes me look at the entire unit before I teach it. I like to know where I’m going.
2. It helps students know what they will be learning. They like to know where they are going too.
3. If a student is absent, I only ask they show me they can do what ever “stamp” they missed. Usually they are more likely to do missed activities for the learning, not just the completion grade.
4. I write the date on one copy when we practice it. This serves as part of my lesson plans for my administration.
5. They can be used formative assessment checks. There are many ways to do this.
A. If you observe a student doing the goal during class, stamp it.
B. Give everyone a written or spoken quiz at the end of class or on a specific day. You can cover one stamp or several.
C. Students self-assess themselves. Keep one specific stamp design out that they can use.
D. Pick a few students every day to show what they can do.
E. Cut up the goals, put them in a bucket as you teach them and let students draw one or two. This keeps them on their toes!
6. No need to type up a study guide at the end of the unit. Study the goals on the sheet!
7. It reminds me that interpretive activities are just important as presentational. What can they understand?
8. It minimizes paper. I collect these at the end of the unit and enter it as one grade. Each stamp equals 5 points in my class. This counts as my class participation. I do not collect the activities they do to practice. It takes time, but it changes the way they think about participation and increases motivation.

Keep it a positive thing. If they can’t do, just tell them to try again. Some students take a little longer than others to get it. I also hold them to the proficiency level expectations. If they are suppose to be Novice high, then it needs to be in a sentence. This gives a chance to give them some quick feedback and guidance.

In the past I’ve also used the stamp sheets blank. The students copied the goal from the board each day. Sometimes I wear a little apron which has my stamps and other necessary items always at hand.

My district specialist, Thomas Sauer, asked a group of us to extend this to all of our units, and then he formatted them. Here is a link to those documents. The stamp sheets can be modified too to fit your class. 🙂 Click on the level, then the unit. It is the first document listed. This concept can work for any course. Share it!
JCPS World Language Documents

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45 comments for “Track Goals with Stamp Sheets”

  1. Megan says:

    I bought a stamp with that allows me to date when students complete the stamp. That’s been nice to hold kids accountable for learning every day. I also have a stamp sheet on my wall and I stamp it when we complete the task so students can keep track of how many they should have or what stamp they missed while they were gone.

    Like Kara mentioned, these are great because student know what they are learn and what they have to look forward to!

  2. Susan says:

    I LOVE this idea. I use stamps as completion points for worksheets, but next year we’re moving to 1:1 where the kids have mini laptops and I’m planning to move away from worksheets as practice to computer ideas, games and other activities. I really like that it’s a small goal and they can do it when they are ready. I really love this…I’m going to have to work on what small goals I’ll have. I really like that it can be done anywhere and anytime instead of formal speaking assessments. Did I mention that I love this idea. I also like the idea of having a specific stamp that the students can use. I might have them give stamps to each other sometimes.

    By the way, just wanted to share some sites with you girls to make easy computer games.

  3. Susan says:

    The site is very cluttered on the first page…go to quizmaker at the top.

  4. Kara says:

    I’ve picked students to stamp the others. This works well. They like being the teacher. Thanks for the pages. I’ll check them out! Also look through that JCPS site. I bet you will find one to fit your level one standards.

  5. Susan says:

    Thank you. The JCPS information is fantastic.

  6. Kathy says:

    I love this idea! We have something similar at the end of a unit where the students reflect on how well they can perform the different goals- but this is so clear and the students are able to reflect on whether or not they can do the task. I clicked on the link you shared with the documents and came across all of your assessments- I have to say I commend your district for doing such a wonderful job of organizing common goals and objectives. How long did it take for your district to do this and who does it and is this state wide?

    1. Kara says:

      Thanks! Our district specialist (Thomas Sauer) has led the task. Two years ago he started a cohort including about 14 teachers that I was a part of. He has really let us make most of the decisions and he formats them. We started with level 1, piloted and created, then revised the next year. Also during the second year, we started level 2. Then the 3rd year, we started level 3. It is still a work in progress, but it helps. Also Greg Duncan with Interprep is an educational consultant that helps districts.

  7. Elena Lopez says:

    I love your stamp idea and all the information found on the JCPS page. What curriculum or books do you use for 7 and 8 grade and for high school students. I trying to develop a new curriculum for next year and all your ideas are wonderful. Thank you for all your great posts.

    1. Kara says:

      You’re welcome! Our district’s curriculum is on that website in the post. We have several approved textbooks for high school (Realidades, Expresate), but I don’t know what we use for middle school. I rarely use a textbook. Even if I use an activity from one, I usually reformat it. I find that my students “shut down” the second I say get a textbook. I do use them for sub plans! The best one we have in my opinion is “Realidades.” Anyone else have suggestions for textbooks?

      1. Tammy says:

        I use Buen Viaje b/c It was used by the previous instructor, and after looking at some other texts, I think it is well done. It contains achievement tests (speaking, writing and listening) proficiency tests, TPRS, cultural readings, videos, activities/games, speaking, writing, and listening activities.

        I have used it more as a supplemental tool this year, and went with Stamps & Real-World Hw and ideas from this blog, but it has helped in a pinch and/or for students that need extra help (I only have my students for 2 1/2 hrs a week).

  8. Katrina says:

    I really love this idea. Do you do the stamps yourself or the students get to do them? What do you do when there is a student who was in class, participated in the activity, but clearly does still not get it? Do you stamp anyway? I seem to have one of those in every class…am I alone?

    1. Kara says:

      If a student can’t do it, I tell them to keep practicing and let me know when they get it. I’ve seen teachers put a big X when they don’t get it, but I think that goes against the point of mastering the concept.
      Honestly, I don’t get to stamp everything. I find it impossible to get to all of them daily and keep up. I’m trying to sit with a small group of students weekly to ask these and hear their answers. Then I stamp as many as they can do. Sometimes I wait until the review day and let them come up and catch up. They have told me that they still like having the sheets even if I don’t keep up with them. They know what’s coming and what to review. I know a teacher that let student’s stamp themselves off when they could do it. It’s all about preparing them for the assessment.

  9. Lori says:

    Is there a blank copy of this. I’m finding it hard to place the circles so that they look straight.

    1. Kara says:

      I saved one from the JCPS skydrive, deleted the words, and save it as my blank template.

  10. Scott Jacobs says:

    I like this idea a lot. I’ll work on adapting it to my classroom. Where did you get the sheets? were they part of a curriculum that your school developed in house, or did you purchase them, or create them yourself? If you have a blank template that you can share, I’d be very grateful as it would save a lot of time.
    Thanks for the idea. Best wishes for a great school year.

    1. Kara says:

      They are on our JCPS site:
      It is not a blank template, but I use white out to make them generic. #oldschool

      1. Kara says:

        And you can edit the Word document ones.

  11. Daina Mason says:

    AMAZING! This and the documents on skydrive encouraged me to modify these in a way to fit my classes, which are quite large (35-40 kids per class). Thank you so much for the resources and inspiration! This blog is like Foreign Language teaching gold! Gracias gracias

    1. Kara says:

      So glad to hear it works for more than just us in JCPS. 🙂

  12. Ckovatch says:

    I love these documents. I have never figured out how to format them. They are in pdf. Am I missing something? Thanks for all your great work!!!!!

    1. Kara says:

      On the JCPS skydive, they are in Microsoft Word. First I have to download, then I can open them to edit. Sometime the fonts or circles are slightly off because of different Word versions.

  13. Tatiana says:

    Hello, I noticed you mentioned upper grades for the STAMP sheet. Do you have a different approach to this for the lower grades. I teach K-6 in a district that only refers to the NJ Model Curriculum but does not have across the board curriculums, resources, or assessments. I am in my 2nd year as a Spanish teacher and see the potential in the kids and want to find an effective way to monitor student progress. I see most students (K-4) once or twice a week, and I see one 5th or 6th grade class 5 times a week for 1 marking period.

    1. Kara says:

      I’ve never taught elementary, but I believe this would work for them too. Maybe simplify the stamps (only 5 or 10 max) based on how often you see them. Or I’ve seen teachers make a passport for the entire year where they add their goals as you go. I think that would be adorable for the younger ones!

  14. Betsy says:

    Calling elementary (and/or traveling) teachers! My team and I would love to pilot something like this but are having trouble thinking through the logistics. Can anyone advise where students keep these stamp sheets? Is it something that works best when everyone takes their stamp sheet out together or is it possible to be more self-directed with younger kids? Any advice would be appreciated. ¡Gracias!

    1. Tatiana says:

      I have been thinking about this too. I have a classroom and teach grades K-6. This is my 2nd year…. One of my goals this year was to create a better filing system for student work. I created a file folder for each student. I think the next step would be to curate a stamp sheet, like the one above, staple into the folders and refer to them each marking period and share w/ student, parent or administrators. That is the idea right now.

  15. Kelly says:

    I have a unit stamp sheet for each unit that I teach now. I copy it onto card stock and give it to students at the start of each unit. They serve as a review sheet for the unit. Students are required to demonstrate that they can can say these things before the test. Most units have 20-25 stamps on the card. I then collect the cards on the day of the test and count them as a participation grade. I usually leave a little class time each class for students to visit with me and acquire stamps.

  16. Justin says:

    What stamps do you use? I read the first person uses just a date. Wondering if you have any neat stamps and where you got them? I’m looking to adapt a travel theme next year and use “passports” with the inside pages being the unit objectives. I might custom order some stamps. Lot of work to do this summer! 🙂

  17. Kara Parker says:

    We are thinking on the same page Justin! I’d like to figure out a way to also make all of them look like a passport (like the one on the Cinco post). Have you seen these?! Students would just need to copy their goals down.
    I get stamps just about everywhere… Hobby Lobby, Michael’s,,, at teacher conferences and art fairs. I try to get ones that represent the culture. So for my Puerto Rico theme, I got a hibiscus flower and a little frog (coqui). I used a mustache like Dali for an art unit. A music note and castanets for a music unit. I’m looking for ones that look like passport stamps, but tough to find just the Spanish-speaking countries. Let me know if you find any!

    1. Justin says:

      Hey Kara, I decided to make my own passport stamps.
      I’ve got a few different countries available.

      1. Kara Parker says:

        Pretty darn cool!

  18. Sarah says:

    Hi there,
    Love the site and always love reading your ideas. I’ve used something similar- we call them the “Yo Puedo”
    statements. I like them and so do the students but I’ve got some glitches. Any ideas on how to tackle the following when using proficiency based lists like these?
    1) Does it matter if a student can show you the skill on Monday but has forgotten by Tuesday?
    2) Do students need to have ALL the stamps done before the end of the unit? Are they affected adversely if they miss some?
    3) What type of extended practice activities do you use for a student that wants the stamp but can’t demonstrate the skill and the class is moving on and the skill won’t be practiced in class as much- if at all?
    4) Do you find discipline issues arising when kids are given time to practice the skills independently with games versus more teacher guided TPRS styles? I’ve found kids are tempted to slack off with the stamps when it isn’t imminent? Or does it become a grading nightmare when they all want their stamps on the last day of the quarter?
    Any insight to these would be awesome! Thanks for all the great conversation that you’re sparking here!

    1. Megan Smith says:

      You’re asking some tough questions that we all have to figure out and unfortunately there’s not a “one size fits all” answer! Sorry 🙂 I sometime change my expectations or stamp procedures for different classes based on how they respond best! Here’s what I’ll tell you. I believe in the “can-do” statements and I believe in tracking student progress with stamp sheets. Some kids love it, others grumble but almost every kid says it helps!

      1.) If I as a teacher started to notice they weren’t mastering an objective and couldn’t really recall it later, I would try adjusting things. Students are smart and will look for the easy path. (We’re the ones concerned about long term proficiency growth!) maybe try doing stamps on Friday and give them a chance to show what they learned throughout the week.
      2.) I never except all kids to have ALL stamps! Yikes! Too many! I like to check the most important ones myself and let student look up/figure out or even self-assess some others. Do some “fake it”? Sure, but we can’t and shouldn’t control everything. Give them a little ownership of their learning. (Looks great for new evaluation systems.)
      3.) I find that students that can’t demonstrate a skill don’t particuarly want to talk to me about it. This is the best time for a little project. It doesn’t make the rest of the class wait, but students who need to know something can ask a friend or figure it out in a way that works for them. Then if you see a kid lost or struggling you can help or send a smarty classmate to help. Also, if a kid can’t do the stamp now, have him do it later when he/she is ready.
      4.) Discipline issues happen. In every class. Even in TPRS lessons. I rarely give free time to “practice”. Stations help control this a little. Set up 5 minute reviews, matching, puzzle, or listening stations and let them “practice” in organized and controlled ways. If they are better behaved, let them move as they wish. If not, set a timer. You can have order and still be student-centered.
      Last, do kids sometimes wait til the last day… Yes! Plan an extra day and don’t tell them. Or be clear from the start that they are due by *** and any make up stamps have to be done after school. You decide what works best for kids!!
      Ok, now I need a lemonade! Hope that helps!

      1. Sarah says:

        Wow! I think I owe you that lemonade! Thanks for such thoughtful responses. Your unbridled optimism is inspiring. Enjoy your summer and thank-you for always giving me ways to push my practice to the next level!

        1. Megan Smith says:

          Sarah – You’re sweet! Thank you!

  19. Andrea Barrios Bergeron says:

    Hi Kara,

    Let me start by saying that I LOVE y’all’s blog and visit it frequently for ideas and motivation! I think the stamp sheet idea is brilliant. Last year I gave them an overall syllabus/pacing guide (college style) with the topic of each unit, how many weeks dedicated to it, and what approximate dates (month of year) that unit will be covered in. However, I did not break down the Units down to goal sheets, instead I had the goals of the day written on a specific portion of the board that they had to write down in their bellringer journal everyday. I’m tossing the bellringer notebook idea this year (too much paper and work, some even lost them) and totally adopting the stamp sheet idea for the goals of the unit and using Musicuento’s idea of daily stamp goals, for all the awesome positives mentioned above. Yet I do have a question about handing them out. I’d still like for my kids to be able to know what we will cover through the year and what to expect and be able to refer to it often, especially if they are absent for a week or two due to a trip or sickness, that way they can see that, for example, for the first week of the month of November, which they will be gone for a mission trip, etc, they will be missing the beginning of the Unit 4: School and that way they can prepare for what they’re going to miss ahead of time or while they’re gone, etc. So my question is, if you have ever given all the Units’ stamp sheets out in advance so that the kids can see goals to come that they will be able to achieve and have something to look forward to? That way when they ask what are we doing after this Unit they could refer to them for an idea? What pros or cons can you think of behind this tactic that you could share with me? I’m trying to figure out a way to merge both the stamp idea and the pacing guide idea into one resource. Kind of like killing two birds with one stone lol. Sorry for the novel I just wrote and any run-on sentences, my mind just word/thought vomited lol =P

  20. Kara Parker says:

    Thanks for the kind words Andrea! Let me start by saying there are several ways to use these, depending on your class. When I created the stamp sheets, I wanted them to be a way for students’ to track their progress. I think giving more than a unit at a time would overwhelm my students, but maybe not yours. Also I’ve found that I need to tweak the next unit based on the results of a past unit. Sometimes I raised the expectations, other times I added goals that we needed to revisit in a fresh way. I like to also make some that are based on what’s going on (holidays, events at school/community, etc) or we have even created units together. Here’s an example of what I’ve done in the past for my syllabus/pacing guide: I like to keep it simple. I find that I’m more focused on achieving a proficiency level rather than topics. It sounds like giving “all at once” may work for your students though. I suggest to try it! It sound like you are very organized and well planned. Oh, or maybe share it electronically like on a class website so it can be modified as needed? I have found students lose their syllabus, but like referring to a website instead. Let me know what you come up with!

  21. Becky says:

    THANK YOU for this post!! I have been thinking a lot lately (really for the past couple of years even) about how much I want to move into being more of a guide by the side instead of a sage on the stage kind of teacher. I want to be coaching the kids 1:1 and in smaller groups while they dig in deeply to their own learning. Later this year we will go 1:1 and I think that will be a huge opportunity to do this more easily. The stamp sheet idea came to me during my typical week-before-school-sleepless-nights and I thought it was worth a google before creating my own. Your documents (stamp sheets, proficiency assessment tasks, rubrics) are all beautiful and wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing!! I will definitely be editing and using to fit my needs.

    1. Kara Parker says:

      That’s awesome Becky! You’re welcome. I would love to hear how it works for you.

  22. Gretchen says:

    I love your site and visit it frequently! I am just getting up the courage to do the stamp sheets! I have a few questions…
    1. Do you have any suggestions for doing the review topics at the beginning of the year? At my school we always review the major grammar topics from the previous level at the beginning of the year, but I am having a tough time keeping them contextualized. This makes for a lot of “non-proficiency” focused work and resorting back to conjugation charts and fill-in-the blank with the conjugation, etc. I have been able to turn some of these things into “I can…” statements but wondered how you tackle this challenge. I do review some old vocabulary but my goal is not to introduce new vocabulary yet.

    2. This then leads me to my next question… Do you still do conjugation charts, fill-in-the blank with the correct conjugation, etc? Is it just for practice? Do you really never include these types of tasks on your assessments? Do you really never give the “old fashioned” quizzes and tests? (I know this sounds lame? 🙂 )

    I want to do things with a real-world proficiency based task in mind, but am having trouble giving up these types of assessments (as are my colleagues). I understand the ACTFL proficiency levels quite well (I have done MOPI training) and in the grand scheme of things, I know the small details like matching definite article to nouns and noun/adj agreement, etc do not really mater, but do you then truly overlook these things in your assessments as long as a student is able to get his/her message across? Do you not focus on these in day to day activities? How do you strike the balance?
    I know these are big questions and I appreciate all that you do to inspire and motivate teachers and learners!
    Mil gracias!

  23. Kara Parker says:

    Hi Gretchen! So glad we can help out. I love where you are heading and you are asking the right questions! This is what has worked for me:
    1. I get that the first unit is generally review, but I think it has to be “packaged” up right. Here’s the message my students vocalized when I said we are reviewing last year: “I already know this… boring.” (even if they didn’t get it) or “I’m so far behind! I give up.” The beginning of the year sets the tone which is SO important. This is when they are wanting to learn! I like to start with a “new” unit that reuses structures and vocabulary from the previous year. At JCPS we had a unit “Entertain me” that we started with for level 2.
    The students were “reviewing” from the previous year, but it had a fresh feel to it. Check out the Stamp Sheet in this unit to see the goals contextualized.
    2. Yes I gave up the traditional assessments and here’s why. They focus on perfection, not communication, and they limit the students. I’ve seen where they perfectly complete a fill-in quiz, then can’t use it when they talk/write. There is a time and place for verb charts and little details, but not until they are ready and only for practice. All of my assessments are the open-ended performance ones. I’ve found that intermediate mid students are ready for the details. Novice students are just trying to survive and communicate (so yes I overlook the little errors with them). I recently went to Korea and I was reminded of what it’s like to be a novice level learner. I just wanted to eat! If I was worried about being correct, I would have starved. 🙂 When I got what I wanted, I was so excited that I communicated (and ate)! Now, once I get good at that, then I would like to improve and learn those details. Also think about natural language acquisition: a child has had 6+ years (24/7) of input and practice before they start learning grammar rules in school. I think it’s fair to push older students through that phase a little faster because they have some L1 knowledge they can apply, but I believe it is fair to give them 2-3 years of input and practice (5 hours a week for 25 or so weeks) before I start focusing on rules. My intermediates become aware that they are making mistakes, and ask how to fix them. That’s powerful! Still, I keep the grammar in context. Example: I can talk about what I did this weekend. -That would need past tense, mainly “I” forms. So I show examples of tweets or an article, they would “mine” it and find all the verbs. Then THEY analyze the verbs for the patterns. There is a little “Ah ha” moment and we move on to practicing it then. When we give verb charts alone, they memorize.
    So as much as it pains us to leave the traditional, which is how I started teaching, I can’t justify that it creates language learners that communicate, and more importantly to me, that are excited to learn more. Megan’s post “Show What You Know” shows what an average student can accomplish after only 7 weeks of class: We have more specific examples and proof of how much more they can accomplish with proficiency-based teaching in our workshops where we walk a group through all the tough questions when switching to proficiency. If you all are interested in a department-wide workshop, email us.
    Keep asking the great questions! We love them!

  24. Celeste says:

    Hi Kara,
    The JCPS docs have literally saved my life this year! and I love your blog! I am so thankful to your team for being willing to share the formats and hard work that you have done. I have a question though, it says that the stamp sheets as a Word doc are editable, but when I open them they are read-only and if I try to download them it asks me to sign in with a password. The other format is PDF and is not editable. Could there be something I am missing? PS, my kids loved the Proficiency Progress and Reflection form!


    1. Kara Parker says:

      Yes! Hats off to Thomas Sauer for sharing those and the many JCPS teachers that put their heart into that work. Glad you like the progress form. Thomas has a way to make my ugly docs into pretty ones. I can’t answer the techy question though without seeing what’s going on. Could be a version/compatibility issue or they may be protected now. Do you have a techy friend that could look at it? Are you using this link?
      I’m not familiar with the sharing capabilities of the newer curriculum. Thanks for your feedback!

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