Elementary Students Monitor Their Own Progress
This TLCShare contribution is from Amy Donnelly. Amy Donnelly, a teacher/leader for 21 years, presently serves as the instructional coach at Weeden Elementary (K-4) in Florence, Alabama. She is a member of the Alabama Instructional Partners Network.
(thanks to Berger) that we'd left out a very important element in this process – our students. Our teachers and school leaders held the learning secrets but we were not sharing them with our learners the way we should. This had to change!The formative assessment process described in Advancing Formative Assessment in Every Classroom (Moss and Brookhart, 2009) poses three core questions: Where am I going? Where am I now? What strategy or strategies will help me get to where I need to go? These were critical questions that our students needed to consider and integrate into their learning. Could data notebooks help us provide the answers to these questions?
The notebooks might also provide the interest and motivation that we were often lacking. Children are fascinated by themselves, so wouldn’t a book all about them and their learning motivate and excite them? I wanted to see.
Introducing the Notebook Idea
During a data meeting at school, we discussed the potential benefits of using data notebooks with the teachers: motivation, engagement, and ownership of learning. I offered to purchase all of the materials that would be needed to make the notebooks, gather the resources needed, put the notebooks together and work with the students to explore and craft their initial data entries. After the meeting, a third grade teacher said she was also interested in data notebooks and would be willing to try them in her classroom. We set a date and began to plan.
Developing the Notebooks
One of the first things I needed to find was an example of a data notebook that the teacher liked. I found a clever design on Teachers Pay Teachers that helped us get started. We used pieces from the example and created other pieces tailored to our particular needs. We included personal goals, data graphs, academic goals and reports from GlobalScholar.
The teacher listed two or three standards-specific academic goals in math and reading for each student and put them on an index card. The goals were obtained from standards that the students had not mastered on their previous benchmark tests. The students were allowed to choose the standards for their goals. (left: Weeden 3rd grade teachers)
The students and I also studied their Global Scholar report in depth. Global was an area that teachers used for data, but students had not received much feedback about their tests. I discussed with them what the reports meant and how to read them. We talked about why their scores were lower at the beginning (the test included standards for the entire school year and they were tested at the beginning of the year). We also discussed why they were supposed to show a half of a year’s growth at mid-year (more of the content had been taught). We graphed their scores by decile and wrote their gains goals for the next test administration. When they took their Winter Benchmark test, they wrote down their new scores and determined if they had met or exceeded their goals.