When I love something, I want all my friends to know about it, and, when possible, I want to share it.  If you despise paper-pencil assessments, then you have to try this . . . In fact, I love it so much, I want you to try it for FREE!  Let me explain!


Hide and Seek is one of my best weapons for infusing recognition skills with fun.  It’s such a simple concept and my students NEVER ever tire of it.  I mean . . . there are days when I’m like, “Seriously!  You want to play this game–again!”  And I always hear “YES.”  It’s a wonderful problem to have because once they learn the game, you can change up the skills, tier it to differentiate based on readiness and because your sweet kiddos know and love the game, it becomes a super independent station activity.

Easy Beginning of the Year Assessments for Kindergarten

My  August/Back To School Letters and Numbers Editions   (You can try it for free by clicking HERE!) of this Hide and Seek game are perfect for teaching the game.  With visual activity cue cards like the one below and a couple of times playing, this game becomes so independent.  It’s a familiar choice in my math and Daily 5 stations.

Easy Beginning of the Year Assessments for Kindergarten

Once that happens,  then the activity also becomes a great way to do those initial assessments that help you gauge your students’ letter recognition at the beginning of the year.  You know, when you’re scrambling to get pre-assessments done so you can get your activities differentiated while collecting data for your administrator?  It can be a bit overwhelming, can’t it?  Well, Hide and Seek, with a little help from one of my favorite assessment tools, makes collecting data easy for you and engaging and fun for your students.

Easy Beginning of the Year Assessments for Kindergarten

One of the beauties of Hide and Seek is that you can use it for a myriad of skills.  Seriously!  I have hide and seek sets for sight words . . .

Easy Beginning of the Year Assessments for Kindergarten

ten frames . . .

Hide and Seek Tens Frame

rhyming . . .

tens and ones . . .

Winter Olympics Tens and Ones Hide and Seek

You name it, there’s a Hide and Seek for that.

Hide and Seek for Word Families

And they are super simple to differentiate.  I just place the cards in color-coded pencil bags and my students know exactly which set if right for them.

The game works like this . . .  Place the small playing cards in Target sized pocket chart.  (I love those little pocket charts.)  The readiness level of your kinders will determine how many cards you use and, in the case of numbers, whether you put them in randomly or in order.

Easy Beginning of the Year Assessments for Kindergarten

I include several hiding playing pieces in these sets, but I would use only one if I only had 10 numbers or so in use.  As you increase the number of playing cards, you will want to add hiding pieces.  So while one person is hiding the card or cards behind the playing cards, the other players have turned their backs and are hiding their eyes,  because anyone who has ever been in kindergarten knows that ‘no sneaky peaky spying’ is the rule.  Once the card(s) has been hidden, players turn around and take turns trying to guess where the card is hidden.

Bashful Bunnies Easter Sight Word Hide and Seek

They can’t just point and say ‘that one’ though.  They are required to say the letter.  The student that finds the card (or locates the most cards) is the winner and gets to hide the card next.  And maybe it’s just my students, but if I just change the theme from month to month . . . it becomes a completely different game for them.  So yes, I have a bundle of the same skilled Hide and Seek games that I change out every month.  Just that little bit of effort to change out the theme keeps the game fresh and exciting.


Here’s another way I use Hide and Seek for assessing.  If you ever wander into my classroom, you will find me with an iPad or my phone in hand.  I promise you, I’m not shopping Amazon, I’m using ESGI to assess my kids on the fly.  The thing I love about ESGI is that it is quick, easy and it saves me tons of time.  An even greater bonus regarding ESGI though is that I can see where my students are at any given time.  I know exactly which letters they are missing.

So if I am working with a small group, I can take that information and place those letters (or another skill) in my pocket chart and use the hiding piece to assess their progress on those skills they are still missing.

Assessing with ESGI

It’s so quick and the best part is that my students are so ENGAGED.  Is there any pencil or paper involved? Nope!  Am I getting good formative assessment data?  You bet!  I can take that information and adjust-teach-assess . . . adjust-teach-assess . . . adjust-teach-assess.

And believe me, when there are so many assessments to be completed, it’s nice to be able to take a quick look at my ESGI data and know, “whoops, looks like I need to re-teach hexagons.  My kids don’t have them yet.”

Not only is it great for gaining assessment data to find out where your students are at any given time, but, if your students are like mine, they will love seeing that little pie chart get fuller and fuller as they master more and more skills.

Assessing with ESGI

ESGI has these amazing resources that you can use to keep parents in the know, as well.  Whenever you need to, you basically hit a button and print off a parent letter for your entire class indicating which letters, numbers, sight words . . . whatever their child is missing.  Want to send home some flash cards to help parents work with their children at home?  Yep, it does that too.

Assessing with ESGI


And here’s the best part . . . I’m giving you a chance to get your hands on ESGI so you can try it, too!  By signing up with ESGI and using my DifferKinder code, you’re going to get 60 days free plus a $40 coupon.  If, after 60 days you love it, and have to have it, well use that $40 to make it happen.  I’m going to tell you, it is going to make the first 60 days of school so amazing for you.

Assessing with ESGI

Do me a favor, just try it. I promise you won’t regret it.  I’ll be back over the next several weeks to give you some more assessment tips.  It used to be my greatest struggle to find the time it takes and the process of collecting paper and recording data . . . but I don’t have that problem anymore.

If you’d like to find out more about Hide and Seek games available in every conceivable skill, click HERE to get to my store.

Hiding and Seek Freebie for Numbers

If you’d like to try a free, numbers edition, pictured above, just click on the Start Your Engines picture below.  It’s an easy downloadable Google Document.

To sign up for your FREE trial of ESGI just click on the picture below.  You will get your 60-day trial, plus be entered to win 1 of 10  gift cards worth $100.

I can’t tell you how much you’re going to love this.  I literally walk to my specials with iPad in hand and while I’m waiting for the gym doors to open, I’m assessing Ball Words and collecting data.  Who wouldn’t love that!

Marsha Moffit McGuire

Short little bio goes here. Short, sweet, and lets visitors know about your experience, expertise, etc.