I love data! I really just can't stress that enough. I love my kiddos more, but when it comes to me trying to decide if I am doing what is best for the kids, I lean heavily on data. I don't like qualitative data either! I know, I know!! I am your worst nightmare if you want to ask my opinion about a student, and all we have to go on is gut feelings, the first thing I will want is some data to support what we are generally seeing and feeling about a student. Don't get me wrong, I lean on intuition also! Intuition is very important, but when I am judging myself or the progress of my students, I want to look at the numbers. I think that part of it comes from my basic dislike of judgement. I don't like to pass judgement on anyone because what I value or deem good, may not meet those standards in your book. So if I have a goal, and know where I am headed, by golly I want some hard data to go with it.
With all that said, let me tell you, I have struggled to find the perfect system for collecting data on campus. I work with teachers at every grade level from K-5 and also have 3 paraprofessionals. We are a school that follows an inclusion model, therefore students with IEP's are in the classrooms more than 80% of the time. I pull some students to work on remediation if they are more than 2 grade levels below, but every student on our campus is exposed to the general education core curriculum. This can make it challenging to track IEP goals. Some students I do not work with daily and I rely heavily on the general education teachers and the paraprofessionals to collect data. Last year we tried folders and data sheets. This was not an entire flop, but also was not where I wanted to be. It took a lot of time to collect the folders, enter the data in a spreadsheet and then return the folders back to the classrooms. There was also upkeep on having blank copies of the data sheets in the folders. It doesn't sound like it would take much time, but every minute adds up to chunks of time that I would rather be teaching.
I kept thinking that there had to be a better way. And by better, I mean faster, more efficient, and user friendly for everyone. We are a school blessed with technology, and I kept thinking there had to be a better way....Google Forms is my answer. I am still in the process of fine tuning it, but I think I am pretty close to having a system that works well for my campus. I plan to make a packet to place on TPT to outline exactly how I use the forms. In the mean time, get on your google account and start playing with Google Forms. Get familiar with it and start thinking about how you can make data collection more efficient with it!
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I keep glancing at the calendar wondering where the time has gone! We had a bad snow storm and as a result, missed our first scheduled week back in January! My mind is racing on how I can stay focused and make up that week of missed work. While I was off on snow days, I managed to post one of the units on TPT that I developed for my small study groups that I meet with in my room. I really like to try and create lessons that will get my bundles of energy excited about reading and writing. I have to say, this did the trick!
Yes you are seeing correctly, we did a science experiment. I took a common experiment, added in a mini lesson on inferences and tied that to the idea of a hypothesis. Students then did an experiment, used visualization and even wrote a science report. Yup....I just said science report!!!
Sometimes I find it challenging to get my students with disabilities to write, but they were more than happy to write these reports. Hope this gives you some great ideas on ways to create some lessons that will get your students writing and using skills they have learned.