We’re back with more bright ideas! 🙂
I thought this would be a great tip to share before heading back to school. It’s not something you have to start right away, but it would be good to keep in mind as you head into the new year.
We have a bulletin board in our rooms dedicated just for student data. It’s up to each teacher to determine how to use it, so for my classes I chose to chart our reading level data as a group. I want to make a couple of “hairy scary” points first:
- I never, ever put student names on the reading level data wall. I’m afraid it would defeat the purpose of the data wall being a motivational tool.
- We have several conversations about how everyone is at a reading level that is just right for THEM.
- GROWTH is the focus for us as a team, and as individuals. The “goal” for each 9 weeks is just a guideline.
We have a “reading target” for each 9 weeks according to our district, but I try not to focus on that too much, as many of our kids suffer from the “summer slide” or they’re already a few reading levels behind.
After each 9 week grading period, I create a chart that shows the students what our “team” of students looks like as a whole. It’s also a great tool for my teaching partner and I as we think about reading groups and math groups. We make a couple of “swaps” between homerooms after each 9 weeks to balance out our groups.
As the year progresses, I keep the most recent chart and the previous grading period’s chart on the data wall.
We spend at least one Reader’s Workshop period looking at the chart, reflecting, and setting individual goals for the next 9 weeks.
The kids have loved seeing how the levels move across the chart, and we celebrate our successes as a team!
At the end of the year, we are amazed at how much growth they’ve made as individuals and as a team. It’s an easy way to get your students connected to the data you look at all the time, and they’re a bit more invested in their progress. 🙂