As we have been focusing on small group instruction, we recognize that there are two crucial parts to this – the first is what is going on with the teacher group and the second part is what the students are doing independently when they are not working with the teacher. I am not saying that one is more important than the other, but there is a clear difference between the two – one is that the teacher is gathering immediate data and information that will help to better understand the needs of each individual and the other is that the students are working to complete an assigned task and information about how they completed the task can be gathered at a later time.
We are privileged to have numerous resources available to us online! ImagineLearning, Achieve3000, SmartyAnts, Benchmark, TenMarks and other personal programs being used with your learners are all great resources that help meet student’s individual needs by providing supports and lessons that would not be possible without the technology at hand. How powerful would it be if we used the work that students are doing on their devices to better understand how they are learning and using that to impact our future small group lessons and, if needed, whole group lessons? I am also not saying that we should only be data driven, but it is important to recognize the needs of our learners and use their completed work as evidence to help us stay informed about their progress.
“Using evidence to INFORM practice and move it forward in serving the child is crucial.”
When we look at the results of work that students are completing using our online programs, we can really create an individualized learning experience. Pulling these reports helps us as educators understand the needs of our learners. We recognize where they are excelling and can better understand these patterns and we recognize where they have deficits in their learning and need additional support. We can celebrate these successes and reteach and give alternate strategies in the areas where they are currently struggling.
Looking at the work that is being done online using our programs helps keep students accountable for being on task. They recognize that they are actually doing the work for a bigger purpose when we can look back and comment on what they have been doing.
Setting individual growth goals and supporting our learners in meeting these goals can help students thrive.
Using Results to Build Relationships
When students see that we are actually looking at the articles they are reading and finding out about what they are interested in, we can build relationships and connect with their personal learning. When students see that we are looking at strategies they are using to solve math problems, we can bring this up in whole group lessons and use their ideas to guide our instruction.
This takes the sole responsibility of planning and knowing everything off of the teacher and instead creates a community focused on learning and building relationships. This is done because we are recognizing the progress and needs of each individual learner instead of lumping them into an average that is not realistic for any of them.
When we see patterns in our online reports, we can recognize what needs to be taught again in whole group and what needs to be taught again in small groups. Depending on how many students were able to successfully meet the standards and apply the skills needed, we can identify areas of misconceptions and work to resolve those before they become habits that cause work to be done incorrectly on a consistent basis. We recognize this by looking at the reports, analyzing student work and by having conversations.
Pulling reports are just one way that we recognize the needs of our students. We are also working to hold conversations, hearing how they are problem solving with their peers and looking at more informal work that is being done by our learners. We can use the online reports as one tool to help make our instruction more strategic and purposeful. The first step is, of course, looking at the reports and understanding the needs of each individual! From there, we can make a plan on how to help use this as one of many tools that guides our instruction.