Using Charts to Model Student Progress

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Since my first year of teaching, I have thought about the many different ways I could help to demonstrate a growth mindset to my students.  You can read some of my thoughts elsewhere in my blog but wanted to share an example of something new I am trying this semester.

As our school has focused more on formative feedback I’ve made it my goal to give more exit slips.  First, I found that I was doing it just “because”.  I claimed it would help my practice and I would make changes based on the feedback but the reality was that it just didn’t happen.

Then, I tried experimenting with tracking this data.  Below is what I put together this fall.  For each student, I tracked their progress and updated it as I gathered more feedback: exit tickets, classroom conversations, or projects.

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The problem I faced with the spreadsheet was that it was a lot of work on my end (valuable and meaningful data but a lot of work).  However great it seemed I did not share with students and it did not give them ownership of it.

I decided to go another way.

Currently, as you can see below, I am using sticker charts to map the progress and understanding of my students.  It is similar to the spreadsheet except it is more simple and student-facing.  If you’ve shown you understand a standard, you get a sticker.  The students see it every day, and it has been a regular conversation we’ve had in class.

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The picture here shows student understanding after Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday or the same week. The week following this data collection we had a short project before we took a group test and individual test.  The conversations around these charts consist of:

(1) Look at how you’ve grown!  Your hard work has been paying off!

(2) If you have three stickers, you should act with empathy and help others so more students can earn stickers.

(3) You should come in at lunch so we can talk and you can earn stickers by showing me you understand.

Looking forward, I want to reflect more on the student buy-in that this brings and think about even more effective ways for my students to own this information. I want them to actively reflect on how they are doing and what they need to do to continue on the path of understanding, despite struggles.

In the mean time, I will continue and be content with how much kids of any age love earning stickers.