read alouds

Tracking Data to Drive Instruction

Welcome to a series of blog posts all about GUIDED MATH! It seems like a scary thing to jump into and I want to let you know it's not. The nine bloggers you see below and myself have joined together to bring you a series of posts to inform you of ALL THINGS guided math! Let's get started!
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I'll be tackling How to use DATA to drive INSTRUCTION!
 We love it, we hate it, we hate it some more, BUT we NEED it!
I have a system my school uses called DMA to help us out, but I like to use a little more than just that. 
I'll explain more below! 

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The first thing you need to know before being able to USE your data effectively to drive instruction is a way to do it.

You'll want to ask yourself these 3 key questions:

1. How is my math block structured so I can attend to the needs of my kids?
2. How will I record the data?
3. How I will I update my data?

Here are my answers to those questions:

1. The way I structure my math block is in a four station rotation (teacher table, on my own station, games station and technology station). My students rotate every 15 minutes. This structure allows me to meet with every group EVERY DAY!

2. I record my pre-assessment and post assessment data in my math binder. In between the assessments, I record math data using a math binder on  a daily basis. I jot down things I notice them doing or not yet doing. Doing this allows me to remember what they need when they return to me the next day AND to see if I'm noticing a pattern in the class.

3. I update my data as I teach. If I notice a student or the group of students have mastered a concept, I make note of it and make any instructional changes that I feel are needed. If the data is showing a student is struggling with understanding a concept, I update that students data and decide what to do next.

I use my planning sheet a lot to record observations that I see during math group time. I always start the week with a focus for each group. As I teach, the focus changes based on their needs. You can see that by looking at the top box of each groups plans below.

As I teach, I also fill in activities for small group for the week. I always start with ONE for sure activity that we'll begin with. Then, I will decide what to do next based on what the kids do. Honestly, I don't always do worksheets with them, I am not always printing stuff off. I've got math tools, my whiteboard, note cards and white computer paper. One time a week, we WILL play a prepped game for review of the skill overall.

 When I am talking about analyzing data purposefully here, I am really talking about more of the summative assessment type of data. Always, always use your formative assessments to guide your instruction every. single. day. During my math workshop I have a station called 'On My Own.' This is where students display their understanding of a certain math concept on their own, without help (unless I state otherwise).

Normally, 'On My Own' is review work of previous concepts. Sometimes, I will throw in an activity to really assess their understanding of what we are doing at that current moment. I take more time to analyze that data. I do this using a four box system and STICKERS!

This is what my little table looks like when I go to analyze my data. Again, everything is kept in my math binder so I don't have to waste time gathering my materials. I keep their papers in a folder, I have my data forms and stickers to mark levels of understanding.

Here are the papers sorted into piles and what the stickers mean.

Blue - Concept mastered and a little beyond.
Green - Concept mastered
Yellow - Gaining an understanding of concept
Red - Concept not understood yet

As I am analyzing data, I determine and organize student names based on four factors:

1These students have mastered the concept and beyond.
2. These students have shown mastery.
3. These students are beginning to understand the concept.
4. These students do not yet understand the concept.

I sort my papers into four piles, write names in four boxes and put stickers on the top of each pile to make the piles easier for me to find if I need to look at them again to gain more information. You can grab the printable I use here.

 I also look for patterns when I am analyzing data. Sometimes, the majority of the class is having a misconception and I record that information on the 'Data Breakdown' form. This is where I get my ideas for my mini-whole group math lessons before we start our math rotations.

Once you've analyzed all that data, it's time to GET TO WORK! Open up that math binder, meet with those groups and instruct them based on where they are! Take notes as you teach them of things your noticing! You will be absolutely STUNNED to find that you actually become a much better teacher by doing the front load work.

When your planning to meet with those groups, you also need a plan in place. No you don't need different activities for each group, or laminated cards or worksheets all the tie. Honestly, get those math tools you need and write down a 2-3 step plan. Use note cards to write math problems, grab a worksheet and provide a different level of support for each group, use a game and change the numbers. It's very easy to differentiate when you KNOW THE NEEDS of your kids!

This is what I use to write out a plan for my kids and what they need:

To read more about guided math, click the links below!

1 comment

  1. I love this post! Your ideas for analyzing student data are great! I would love to add a link to my blog but was not sure if the Linky is open to all. I'm a bit of a "baby blogger" and am still learning.
    Thanks for sharing these great ideas and resources!
    Teaching Tips and Treasures