Friday, August 2, 2013

Scales Galore!

Those of you who follow my Facebook Page, or TPT store, have seen a whole lot of scales lately! Last year my district started implementing Marzano practices and a component of that is learning scales! The idea is to have scales hanging in your room so students understand the different levels of achievement, where they currently are, and the goal they want to move towards. I initially thought this was a pain, just something else to take up the *very* limited wall space I have, but the more I used them the more I found them to be an extremely valuable tool. They are excellent for not only keeping track of student progress, but for students to self monitor and have a sense of where they are and what they need to do to deepen their learning. You can write these out on chart paper of course, but that's boring! I wanted something cute! I came up with a cute 3 little pigs packet that came with scales, student notebooks to keep track of their data, and desktop scales. Almost immediately requests started coming in for other themes, and so I made those too! So far I've made 3 little pigs, Jungle, Owls, Ocean, Superheroes, Construction, Butterflies, & Baseball!

Here's what you do: 

First, Choose a packet you like. (there's a link at the end of this post)
Then, decide which scale style you like. You can either print a set with pre-selected phrases, or if you want to be more specific, you can print the blank ones and fill in your own wording. 

LAMINATE for durability!!

Decide how you want to display them. I suggest either taping them together and attaching to the wall, door, or a window, 
I wrote in these addition scales with a dry erase marker

or hanging them on ribbon. Either way they should be vertical so students can see it as a hierarchy they want to move up. 

If you choose to mount them on ribbon, you might also want to print a set of the student markers and attach them to clothespins, one for each child. Then students can clip their clothespin onto the level they are currently on. If you are going to go this route I suggest backing them with cardboard or something similar for durability. 

Print, laminate, & cut the desktop scales. These get attached to the kids desks so that during a lesson students can easily show you how they feel they are doing. You can have them use an eraser or a bead to mark their level, of the included cards. 

To make sure the cards don't get lost I'm planning to put a small piece of velco on the back of the card. Then I will put velco on each level of the scale, as well as the inside of the top of their pencil box. This way when we are using the scale it will stick on, and not get bumped around or lost, and when we aren't using it, it will be stuck to the top of the pencil box and not get ruined inside the box. Please pretend these pieces of tape are velcro, I'm not in my own classroom for summer school and don't have access to my velcro stash. (Walmart has awesome Mini Velco dots in their craft/fabric section that are the perfect size for this!)

Assemble your notebooks. I choose to use all black and white, but colored covers are also included. I stapled about ten pages together (I can't imagine covering more than ten benchmarks in a month) and labeled it with the month, but you could also make year long versions by slipping the cover into the front of a binder and hole punching the pages to go inside the binder, or by gluing the cover onto the front of a notebook and having kids glue in the scales as you go.
please excuse my finger, obviously I'm not yet a master photographer!

Students write the standard, benchmark, or I can statement up at the top, then keep track of their progress over time. 

You can see from this picture that one of our summer goals was to count to 100. We'll assess one more time and are hoping this sweetie moves from a 3 to a 4. 

Some Printing tips: 

1. When you go to print, look at the preview. If you see a bunch of white space around the edges, choose "fit" so it will print full page. 

2. If you have desks, the desktop scales are probably a good size. If you have tables like I do, they are probably going to be too big. To solve this problem, simply select "scale" and then play around with it until it's a good size for you. Around 70% ended up being right for me. 

3. If you change the size of the scales, make sure you also change the size of the markers or they will be too big!! 

And that's it! I'll be having my kids show me how they are doing on the desktop scales during our lessons, and moving their clips on the big chart at the end of the lesson if they need to move up! 

To view all of my Marzano scales, click HERE.

Need helping writing your own scales? The Marzano website has an awesome library of scales, and you can even search by grade and subject! Check it out HERE. (You do have to create a free account)


  1. Hi Rachelle,
    I'm in FL too, and we have been using Marzano scales for a couple years now. It's funny how different counties implement. We do not use "0" on our scales at all. And we are not allowed to say "can teach a friend" for level 4. We have to use the Webb's DoK verbs. All of level 3 plus. All of our scales have to be subject/standard specific, no generic scales. I love your scales though! Wish I could use one:/


  2. Hi Dee, you could always use the blank scales and write in your own wording. That's what I did on the 3rd picture. I used a dry erase marker to write in my own addition scales. The blank ones only have the level heading, such as "purrrrfect" and not the description, so they don't mention teaching a friend! And you definitely don't have to use the level zero!

  3. I LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing. We have to use Marzano too and have had very little help with implementation. Just you're doing it wrong "beginning." It's so frustrating. So, I absolutely love you for this post. It is so helpful.

  4. These are great. I've used something similar for the past few years using cupcakes. I love that you have added individual charts for the kids to use.

  5. Your stuff is adorable! You did so many fabulous themes I can't choose!

  6. I love your scales.. they are so cute! We have just started Marzano and I've been trying to find any information I can on whether this part of it will really make any difference in Kinder. I work with kids from poverty, and many can't recognize the numbers, let alone know that 3 is higher than 1, for example. So I'm not sure this will be useful.