Hey, y'all! Has anyone ever told you you collect too much data on your kids? You can stop laughing now. :-p I take data on my kids all the time, but in order for my students to starting taking ownership of their own learning, I developed a "littles friendly" data binder.
Personally, I think having my littles keep track of their progress is wonderful, and also slightly intimidating. I mean, I don't want to turn them off of school by drilling them with assessments and such, so I tried really hard to make it easy for student use. That's why the kids' title page looks like this:
Once you teach your kiddos how to use it, they are so excited to track their progress. I'm using folders this year and it works just fine, but next year, I'm totally getting binders with pockets to keep more of their work in.
There are pages for just about everything. Just pick and choose what you want your kid's to keep track of. Start small if you need to, but start! There are pages for monitoring a skill, like sight words...
…graphing their progress for most skills...
…and setting learning goals for every skill. Teacher example pages are included in every section, just in case.
The reading level section is filled in on the kindergarten data binder, but the 1st grade binder has an optional blank reading level column since there is such a huge range in reading levels in 1st grade.
Students can also keep track of their fluency, spelling practice, and writing skills.
This is what a student spelling tracker looks like in my classroom:
This year's class gets so excited to track their spelling progress and they LOVE to watch their graphs go up. And if they don't do as well on a spelling test, they can easily see the effects of not practicing.
There's also a section for math skills. Students can monitor their counting skills, number recognition, shape identification, and coin identification.
The 1st grade binder has six 2D shapes and six 3D shapes to identify, while the kindergarten binder has four of each.
Also included in both are coin and color identification, and a math skills checklist specific to each grade level.
As we finish a fluency check, spelling test, sight word assessment, etc., I have them fill in that part of their data notebook right away. It basically becomes part of our small group time every couple of weeks or so.
For math, we preview the unit together, discuss the skills we'll be working on, and set goals for that unit. That way our objective is always present in our minds as we work on that skill set. In the middle of the unit, do a quick check-in to monitor their progress in meeting the goal, and then assess everyone's progress in the end.
During social skills meetings, we work on what to do if we don't meet our goals. We're not just finished and moving on. We keep trying until we meet it, even if it means adjusting our end date and/ or strategies.
Can we have more than one goal per subject at a time? ABSOLUTELY! Your students may be working on counting by 5's and 10's at the same time. And certainly there should be more than one goal for reading.
Like I said earlier, if student data binders make you nervous (they won't be perfect and that's okay!) start small. I did! Begin where you're comfortable. Once you and your class has mastered tracking progress on one skill, add another. You'll find that teaching them to self-monitor the next skill will be so much faster and more efficient than learning how to do the first one.
If you have any questions about how to implement or best utilize student data binders in your classroom, just ask me! And be sure to pick up your own today! :)