Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Data and differentiation - the pretty way.

I color code everything. And I do mean, EVERYTHING. 

Each prep (I have three this year) has a different color. That color follows that subject from interactive notebook covers, to warmup activities and agendas on the board, to inside my teacher binder. I love colors, but really, what I love is using them to organize. I like knowing that "blue is algebra 2." I think color coding makes everything more efficient. So it was only natural that I'd set up my data tracking systems based on color progressions. 

I track data in many ways in my classroom, but mostly for 2 things: basic number sense proficiency, and based on the standards for that subject. At any moment, I can tell you what a student's weaknesses are, as well as what standards in which they are proficient. I'm a math person, so it's all bar graphs and numbers to me. However, I've found that my students also benefit from being aware of what "topic" they're working on, and while it's not full on SBG (standards based grading), it's close enough for my purposes. 

Let's start with the easier set of data: basic arithmetic understanding and memorization. 
Students in my class are required to memorize their basic math facts. I require a certain number under a time limit, and then they move to integer operations under a similar but slightly longer time limit. I've sorted these into 10 categories, each with a different color: positive (whole) numbers (add, subtract, multiply, divide, and change a fraction to lowest terms), and integers (add, subtract, multiply, divide, and mixed). Students keep a tracking sheet in their notebooks so they know how many attempts they've made at each color, and get stamps/stickers once they reach my requirement (I timed myself for each level then cut the number in half). Here's the chart they use:
(The codes indicate the type of problem. W=whole numbers, Z=integers. The number indicates how high the facts go, so Wx10 is whole number multiplication facts up to 10. In the future, I'm sticking with the colors and ignoring the letter codes.) Here's that file. (The new, prettier version)

Logistically, this is usually done right after the warmup. I have a class set of sleeve protectors. Each sleeve protector contains one of each color. If a student is working on addition facts with integers, they know to pull out the orange piece of paper and place it on the top of the stack inside the sleeve protector.  

Each student uses a dry erase marker to fill in their answers, and get 1 minute to do as many as they can. I use a timer on the smart board so they can all see the timer, and hear when time is up. I grade these while they work on classwork, since a class set only takes me about 3-4 minutes. I keep an answer key in a binder to make grading faster. 

For math facts, I record their scores, as well as number of attempts and which levels they've finished. I grade all the "reds" at once, and know if anyone makes over a 30, they've passed the level. Otherwise, I just mark that they completed another attempt. Students also record the actual numbers, so they can see progress more easily. 

Here's what my sheets look like. 
1. List of attempts and scores. A highlighted number shows a student passed the level.  
(For those of you that are OCD like me and wondering about the green vs. yellow - I had 2 levels of achievement for these - yellow was basic proficiency, green was for getting the entire page done in a minute without mistakes. I awarded tickets to students that got the perfect scores.)

2. Class proficiency graph - each time a student passes a level, I filled in the box under that level beside their name. 

Since it's getting late, I'll go into the standards-based levels tomorrow. It's based off of this system, but  has to be more detailed since it includes around 3 times as many levels. Here's the file for the grade sheet. (I use this for everything.)

Update: Here are the 2013 pics of the new form - more color coding than before! Here, I tracked their progress, and circled the number when they reached proficiency. This was much faster (and neater) than highlighting. I still keep the bar graph chart, since it's nice to see at a glance where most kids are.

I use minute drill worksheets off of this site, printed out as a class set on whatever color matches that level. 

1 comment:

  1. Would like to try implementing these minute drills this year, but I'm not sure of a few things: 1) are they always trying to answer 30 questions for each topic/level? 2) Do you use these scores as quiz scores? Or are they worth no actual part of their averages?