Data Made Easy & Working Towards Closing the Gap
When I taught English I was a bit obsessed with analyzing unit test results to see which content I needed to re-teach. I spent hours identifying the skill each question covered, going through student tests, and tallying up the numbers. Despite the painstaking challenge of reviewing all the test data I had generated in class, the process paid off in the long run because I could see the areas that we needed to work on. As I “perfected” my system, I began to share the results with students, and they began to set individual goals for progress. This process was even more rewarding as students achieved goals and a greater understanding of the content.
Needless to say, when I saw The Instant Data idea collection technique from Tonya’s Treats for Teachers, I had a forehead slap moment. The idea is so simple and quick that I really wish I had seen this years ago. After a class test in math, Tonya created a grid with each of the test numbers on it, and had students color in the box for the number if they got it wrong. She then took the grids, pasted them in a file folder in a line and had a quick visual of which numbers students struggled with the most. While this shows clearly what questions students struggled with, it also could throw up a red flag about the item itself.
While I thought this data collection grid was brilliant, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if the grid was modified slightly, so that the numbers were organized by skill on the grid, this would give teachers & students an idea of what skills students were struggling with on each unit. Imagine having this kind of quick data weekly instead of quarterly or yearly—imagine working with students to use these grids to develop skill based goals. Closing the gap could become a snap as all stakeholders see strengths and weaknesses clearly. I fooled around with the idea and created my own Test Data template. Check it out—I provided brief instructions so that you could modify it to meet your own needs.
Gabby & Gator: A Graphic Novel to Teach Characterization
Graphic novels are hard to share with a large group, but if you have a document camera, Gabby & Gator by James Burks could be a fun one to share with your 1-3 graders.
The story follows the adventures of a misunderstood alligator and a misunderstood girl. It deals with themes such as judgment and bullying, and provides a good example of dynamic character.
If you need a new way to introduce character and want to help students explore theme development, this could be a good change for a class read aloud!
If you have trouble sorting kids into “random” groups—or if it causes a fight each time you do assign, you could make sue of the Random Group Picker in Smart Notebook Gallery to do the dirty work for you.
To locate the template, click on the Gallery Icon (The one that looks like a picture in a frame). Search Group. Choose the Interactive and Multimedia folder, then click and drag the icon that says Random Group Picker into your Smart Notebook window.
To edit the template, simply click in each of the boxes and type the names of the students. When you are ready to generate groups, select the number of groups you need and click “Generate”