Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Still Thinking About Kids, Data, and Teaching.

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So...last week I was required to complete a "screener" on my students.  The State will keep a database for me and we can progress monitor anyone who's not meeting "The Expectations".  Yesterday my day was spent analyzing the first round of data.  Now it's mulling inside of me.  I'm reconciling with data this morning, and a few other things. 

 It's important to note while we were looking at this initially yesterday, we received nothing but time to ask lots of questions, and lots of encouragement.  There was that feeling of spinning and turning; yet as I think about that more, I'm okay with that.  It gives us time to reflect on what we are doing.  

There are beautiful faces attached to those names we were looking at.  They love super heroes, Pokemon, Mo Willems, and Recess.  They cheer when it's pancake day in the lunch room.  They want to master things like yoga poses we do together and the monkey bars.  They bump into each other when they line up and announce there is pushing, hug each other when there are tears.  Tell me that I'm the best teacher they've ever had.  (I might be their 2nd or 3rd teacher...I'll take it.)  :)  

I've been reflecting on the work of my heroes in education. (Lucy Caulkins, Donalyn Miller, Jennifer Serravallo, Debbie Miller, Marie Clay...the list could go on.)  You might notice some verbiage down here that sounds like these heroes.  I've been mulling and flipping through pages over the past few days.  

A List of Thoughts on Assessment I've had in the past 24 hours:

1.  I can't lose sight of who they are.  They are not going to grow up to be the child who scored __ __ % on an assessment.  They are going to grow up to make an impact on this world.

2.  My daily assessment is so important.  It must be authentic and in real time.  It matters.  

3.  Books.  Lots of books.  If the books are too hard, I need to encourage better selection.  "Let's find books that make you feel strong as a reader."  That's from the Art of Teaching Reading--page 123.  

4.  What can they do?  Answer:  It's a lot.  Find that and build from there.  

5.  I need to continue to empower myself and not get bogged down with numbers and color-coded spreadsheets.  

6.  Emerging readers are awesome.  Approach that with a spirit of amazement and awe.  It's so cool.  

Whew!  I have some work to do today!  :)  



  1. Nice. They are kids! I think that going over the data is interesting, and it does help to paint part of the picture. It's a shame that the guy who collects it all for The State (that sounds so Orwellian!) will only get to see that one set of numbers and won't be able to factor in the other things you mention.

  2. I especially love your paragraph that begins with 'beautiful faces', Kendra. That's what's important-so right! Don't get bogged down. Love this, & I assume you've read Julieanne's post, too.

  3. Like Linda, I love your "beautiful faces" paragraph. I'm so tired of assessments (and people) that forget to acknowledge kids as human beings FIRST. I love your question, "What CAN they do?" I'd follow that with, "What ONE thing can I teach them that will make the biggest difference in their reading lives? Your kids are lucky to have you for a teacher.

  4. Yay for seeing who they really are! You see them as little people who want to to master life -- full of love and excitement. Yay for books and literacy heroes! They are so lucky to have you and your powerful reflections to guide their growth as readers. Yay for you being the best teacher!

  5. That's a great list - a wonderful lens for teaching, too.

  6. It's so refreshing to see you thinking deeply and authentically about this assessment. I love your lines about "they cheer when it's pancake day." Made me smile. Lucky kids, is what I'm thinking, to have you.

  7. Love your reflection and thinking ... I think you are right on track! Love #4: What can they do? A lot. Yes!! Continue to make a difference!