I was having difficulty time finding a topic to write about that seemed to be applicable across all classes and grades. However, working in a kindergarten classroom last week provided me with inspiration on collection of data.
The alphabet chart – I bet it has been a while since you have thought about that unless you are a kinder teacher who is facilitating a class of word scientists currently exploring the alphabet chart. If you want to be amazed by all that a 5 and 6 year can learn about letters, sounds, patterns and more from one tool, I suggest you stop into a kindergarten classroom for word study.
Picture this, 18 young children sitting and laying on the rug with their alphabet charts that are missing pictures and a stack of pictures to add. Working in partners, they go about the task of identifying the picture, stretching out the name, catching the first sound, and matching that sound to a letter (whew)! As we walked around coaching into the students’ work, we realized the need to be capturing this learning as it is so rich in information. We walked around to snap pictures of each of their boards. Quick, easy data – using what you are already doing to gather information to guide future instruction and reflect on past instruction.
By taking a photo at the same time, we were able to look at partners’ speed and accuracy of the task. Several partnerships had a completed and accurate chart, indicating they had the vocabulary of the pictures, knew the concept, could apply the concept of hearing an initial sound, and then were able to connect the sound to a letter. Other partnerships were accurate but only halfway done, showing they understand and can complete the skills but are not yet automatic. Still a few partnerships only had a few on their board or pictures on incorrect spots, more investigation we decided is needed for those students to determine if it was the vocabulary, phonological awareness or letter sound connection that made the task challenging. On top of that, we gathered observational data on who could take turns and work with their partner. We didn’t have to add anything, just have a way to collect the data and then turn around and use it. We will reflect on this data in our weekly planning meeting to determine next steps for minilessons and groups and make notes on the previous week of lessons.
I write this for several reasons, one my love of data, as many of you have seen me nerd about over the years. Also, this one task reminded me that data is one topic that speaks to all teachers and faculty at ISB no matter the grade or position; we all collect and use data. It reminds us that collection of data does not need to also be additional work if we set up systems to collect data for what we already do.
We continue to reflect on our work at ISB and our alignment with our data belief, below are our data beliefs, updated as of November 2019. As we know, data is collected and used in many different ways, in reflecting on our practices as described above I found the following most related for this example (shown with an *).
Data Beliefs at ISB
Updated Nov. 2019
Beliefs about the role of data:
- The most valued data is teacher-collected formative data that is used to differentiate student learning. *
- Quality, valid data from multiple sources creates shared ownership of student learning.
- Data analysis supports both student and teacher growth.*
- Data should be shared in a safe and open environment that depersonalizes ownership in order to support our understanding of student learning.
- The act of reflecting on data is a part of our role and professional responsibilities.
How we use data:
- Data is used to differentiate instruction to support all students.*
- Data is used to inform instruction across a range of levels and for a variety of purposes.*
- Data is used to document student progress for the purpose of reporting and school program improvement.*
- Collaborative teams explore data for patterns.
- Processes and protocols assist in establishing supportive environments to look at student learning.