I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March. You should do it too! Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing!
I’m sitting in a faculty meeting trying to fall in love with data. I am. I get it: Triangulate data to help students grow. I am making friends with assessment this year as an instructional tool. I am, I promise. I’m a little stuck because I can’t love test data that helps us streamline instruction in order to help students do better at that test. That seems like a vicious circle to me… and an odd priority. But, I’m trying to make friends with Data, and find time to really use it.
I’m in! I use formative assessment data to help guide me… trying to make it quick. I’ll hand out index cards, ask students to read a short article and write the central idea and key details on their index card. I’ll collect reader’s notebooks and read their “best” stop and jot about a signpost. I’ll look at my students’ work and make strategy groups, conferring goals, and whole class lessons. When I have time. My instructional coach has this great way of looking at data. She has an eye for it, and she is always looking for ways that real-life classroom teachers can manipulate and then use data, “What can you do in 10 minutes that will help your students?” She has kids at the center and data as a way to help them grow. She is data-gifted.
I’m listening in a faculty meeting as we are given an example of a teacher meeting via video. “This is where we’d like to be with our PLC’s!” We are told. The video comes on and the teacher on the video says disparagingly, “We used to talk about students in our meetings. Now we talk about data.”
I’m trying to fall in love with data. I’m already in love with students. I will not aim to have meetings where we aren’t talking about students. I will not make that my goal. Let’s add data to the discussion. Let’s triangulate and guide instruction. Let’s grow. And, let’s not forget about the kids themselves. Please.