Thursday, April 21, 2016

Data Binders

I'm a big proponent of  student data binders.  I'm a recent convert, so know that I understand and sympathize with the thoughts of "they can't handle that" or "that's just too much work".  I decided to just jump in one year and try it.  I had an extremely well-behaved and motivated class, so if it was going to happen, this was the year.  We started them right after winter break.  Students really bought into them and loved setting goals for themselves (and meeting them).

I started with "lap books".  I purchased this one from The Pinspired Teacher on TPT.  I modified it based on what my students needed and what I wanted to track, but having the basic template really helped a first time user.

I've since moved to using binders that I can reuse each year.  It's not as "cutesy", but it's definitely more functional for our purposes.  I created short and long term goal sheets that are kept in the front and filled out (at least quarterly).  I bought CHEAP tab dividers and gave each student two.  They thought it was great to write "Reading" and "Math" on the tabs.  Behind the reading tab is their current reading level F&P continuum checklist and a reading level graph that's updated after benchmarking or movement from running records.  The math tab contains charts for graphing pretests and post tests.   I've had a few other items float in and out of the binders, like behavior sheets, but these are the staples every year.

                             Goal sheets
Reusable, numbered binders                                     

The increased student effort due to tracking themselves is amazing.  No one likes to record "bad" or "negative" results, so everyone tries hard to avoid this.  Great conversations happen about growth and improvement even if the actual grade is less than desired.  These have become wonderful tools for parent/teacher conferences as well as those quick but necessary 1:1 student conferences.

Math Pre/post Test Graphs to Show Growth & Set New Goals