Updated: Mar 6
There are a few things that I truly believe help student growth. Some of those things include making sure each student knows how they are doing, having students create personal goals, and having students track their success. I have helped implement Student Data Binders in grades K-5. In the classes where they are truly used (and not just dust collectors) they have been a valuable resource.
First, it important to teach kids to make personal goals. Think about successes you have had in your life? Did you have a goal that you were trying to meet? Goals can be as simple as "I want to memorize my multiplication facts for the number 8." or "I want to learn 3 sight words"(younger kids can draw pictures of their goals!).
After students make goals it is important to track the things that you feel are the most important for student growth in your classroom. I personally track Monthly Checkpoints (Math, ELA, and Writing), AR Points, and Math Fluency. If you track too many items, it can become overwhelming. If you have read any other posts from me, you will know I am a true believer in each teacher finding what works for YOU! One of the most important things is to CELEBRATE SUCCESS! (I almost said IF, but let's be POSITIVE...WHEN students show success, celebrate and have them write it down. Let them dance! Make it a BIG deal.
These are just samples of what I like to track. The next part of Student Data Binders that I LOVE is having conferences with the students. I meet with them EVERY month (well, that's always my goal and it happens MOST of the time). It is a real quick conference. We skim through their data. I find one strength and one area for them to really focus on improving. I log it in their binder, and we are ready to move on. It is a quick chat BUT is also VERY meaningful. Not only did I help them plan for an area of focus, I took time to let them know I care about their progress. This is another time we can celebrate together because I can point out areas they are doing GREAT in. One on one time is so beneficial.... even if it is just a few minutes!
My ABSOLUTE favorite part of Student Data Binders is using them so students can lead parent conferences. Yes, you heard me. I don't do my conferences BUT my students do. It saves me time preparing (as long as I stayed up to date with data binders). For the older students it also eliminates parents saying that they didn't know how their child was doing. If they do say that, I simply say, "Johnny, you haven't been sharing this data with mom and dad?"
Yes, as you can see, I LOVE Student Data Binders and find great ways to use them so I can see my student growth SKYROCKET. BUT I also keep data myself in my Teacher Data Binder. I may be a data NERD, but I do try to keep it simple. Once again, only do what works for YOU and don't overwhelm yourself. I like knowing where my kids are because it helps me differentiate my instruction. It also helps me when I go to ESE meetings, RTI meetings, and/or Admin Data Chats. This is just one Life Saving Data Tracker I use for RTI! It keeps me organized and helps me when I FORGET I have a meeting and a sub comes to cover my class so I can go to the meeting that I forgot all about! (Yikes, maybe I shouldn't have admitted that, BUT I am human and even though I forget I am already prepared!)
Ok, so now for the FUN part. Choose a cover that will motivate your students or match your theme! If you don't see one you like just email me firstname.lastname@example.org. You can click on any picture to see the designs available! At the end of this post you will see more samples too!
Most importantly, start thinking about YOU and YOUR classroom? How can you use data binders to SKYROCKET YOUR student growth? How can you make this work for YOU and YOUR kids? Will this help you differentiate your instruction? Will it help you identify students that need extra support? Will this motivate your students? Once you realize how it can benefit YOU and YOUR class you are on your way to SKYROCKETING YOUR student growth!