Here are some ways I use data charts with my 4th graders during our opinion writing unit. These ideas can help you make data meaningful with your students and improve your instruction.
Individual Data Charts
Once my students have submitted the final copy of the opinion essay (with their reflection stapled to it), it’s up to me to score their writing. When that’s finished, we take time (not during writer’s workshop) to graph our data on individual data charts.
At the beginning of the unit, students were asked to write a goal for the entire unit of study. Something they wanted to achieve at the conclusion of our six weeks. This is a good time to refer back to that goal and critique our efforts. Below the line graph is a section for students to note one thing they could do better next time. We got that from the second question on the reflection piece we discussed in yesterday’s post. Finally, students come up with a plan of action for actually making that improvement. What’s the point of saying you need to get better if you also don’t have a specific action to take in order to actually get better? We keep the data charts along with the completed essays in our school folder because it’s important to review our progress throughout the unit of study. One final step in the whole process is to reward students with a star on our Super Improver Wall. Talk about motivation! That’s one system that really works for my kiddos.
Class Data Chart
I also have a class data chart that I use for my own planning and tracking. Here’s a photo:
I created a color-code for the three tiers of intervention used in my school so I can use this chart to help me form my RtI groups. I’m such a visual learner that the colors help me sort the data better. Each column also has space for me to record the date the essay was due. This data chart is just one more way I can make sure my instruction is having a positive impact on student learning.
Before I sign off on this post, let me share a link to another blog post: 7 Mind-Melting April Fools’ Pranks for Teachers. Who even thought up this holiday?! Not a teacher, I can tell you that! Good luck on making it through the day. Just keep telling yourself that after today, April Fools’ Day falls on the weekend for the next 2 years. Happy teaching!