calm breeze

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Data, data, and still more data

Wow...where has the school year gone?  It is already the second week in November - report cards and conferences are just around the corner!

In my building, we are transitioning to our first year of being self-contained classrooms.  For everyone, this means learning new curriculums -  some more than others.  For instance, I am 'trained' in Reader's Workshop and taught our social studies units and Writer's Workshop last year in my team.  My team teacher taught the science and math units.  Well this year, I am responsible for all of it and have these two new curriculums.  Other teachers (last year's math/science teachers) are saddled with implementing Reading & Writing Workshops (no easy task!) and the social studies component.

HOWEVER, we have a brand new math curriculum - Bridges in Mathematics/Number Corner.  Everyone is in the same boat here...but I love this program!  It is very constructive and scaffolds student learning to allow them to build their mathematical knowledge with manipulative and concrete models.  But it is VERY, VERY time consuming.  Prepping for the lessons and the materials is extensive....a metric ton of copying.  And then there is the math calendar called Number Corner.  I was very excited about this!  It only takes 10-15 minutes each day but Number Corner builds computational fluency and exposes my students to concepts like measurements (metric & standard), fractions, observations, number sense, and problem solving every day! 

And the data!  This program has many assessments and data collection pieces the help me monitor and document student learning and growth.  It is very time consuming (when is data collection and analysis not?) and I often spend hours each week grading and inputting data.  All just for math...

I have separate sheets for whole class data on each pre-assessment and post assessment as well as the Number Corner check ups.  I also have individual student record sheets for data on each unit.  In my Math Data Binder, I have tabs for each student were I keep these record sheets and 'work samples' such as assessments and graded homework samples that I believe will be valuable evidence at our up-coming conferences.

Now, I just need to get my data binders for Reading and Writing Workshop to look just as good....but this is truly a challenge because Reading and Writing have so many components and it is very difficult to measure things like inferring, analyzing character traits, etc since it can be so subjective!  Sure, we have data from our Dibels/Daze benchmarks, Star Reader, and Fontus and Pinnell word lists, but these are only benchmarks and don't show growth (yet...winter benchmark is coming!). 

What do you do to track student learning and growth in Reading & Writing Workshops?