The highlight of the teaching profession involves working with so many amazing students. It is about planning high-quality lessons and then seeing the magical light bulb go off when students understand the concept. Furthermore, it is about spending time truly getting to know students in order to create a magical place in the classroom. While teaching is so rewarding, it is also so demanding. One of the hardest aspects to manage can be collecting data sheets on every single student. Additionally, this data then links to changes that need to be made in order to ensure every student is reaching his/her highest potential. Thankfully, data doesn’t have to be so stressful! With the right materials, data can actually be an incredible tool to use when planning the curriculum.
Passion Behind Data Sheets
In my PreK special education class, I was in charge of taking data on my students. I needed to base my data off the goals that were in the IEP from the evaluation team who evaluated the child. This evaluation occurred when children were about 2.5 years old. Since my students are so young and are growing and blooming every day, I needed to be sure my data was accurate and detailed. Therefore, once the annual review time came around, I could update the existing goals or create new ones. Thus, I needed to be able to reflect on the data outside of class. Instead of having complicated notes or losing track of anything, I tended to keep data as simple as possible in well-organized datasheets.
FREE Data Sheets
My EDITABLE & FREE Data Sheets have been a lifesaver! I can edit it for individual students in order to keep track of the different goals. Additionally, my FREE Observation Sheets have been an incredible resource to use as I am walking around the classroom while students are working. I can jot anything down and then have everything ready when it comes time to review goals and lesson plans for the next week.
Steps to Take After Data Collection
It is so important to spend time reflecting on the data that was collected. Specifically, it represents where each student is at. Therefore, it is an excellent way to implement lessons or activities that will help them overcome struggles or misunderstandings. Furthermore, data is a huge driving force behind education and the initiatives it is focusing on. Thus, if educators want to ask for a certain technology tool or certain resources, data is an incredible way to show why something will be beneficial.
Involve all the adults in the room
However, it is important to remember that data analysis does not only involve teachers. It involves every adult in the classroom who is there to support students and their learning. Thus, myself AND my paras work together on analyzing the data. To do this, we meet weekly to discuss new goals and how to assess goals more effectively. Since every student is different, it is important to constantly be discussing the most appropriate goals for each student. Then, as a team, we can generate new goals based on what students are working on or need to start working on.
Honestly, thinking about the creation of goals is hard! Thus, I worked with my BFF Jessie to create a goal bank. It is an absolute timesaver and ensures my preschoolers are working on what is most appropriate for them. Thankfully, we FINALLY put the Preschool Special Ed Goal Bank on TPT last summer!
Steps to Take After Observation
Observation is a wonderful way to see how students feel about the classroom and content. For instance, are they excited to learn? Do they appear nervous during certain activities? Are they engaged with classmates? While data collection is amazing for goal progression, observation data is a great all-around focus. For me, most of my preschool data was observational. Therefore, I needed to make an easier way for myself and my paras to keep track of our notes. Due to this, the FREE Observation Sheets in my TPT store were created. These sheets have truly been a great way to ensure the many needs of elementary students are being met.
While many of the above resources were created while I was in PreK, they can truly fit any grade! Now, as a second-grade special education teacher, I am actually using the SAME EDITABLE & FREE Data Sheets that I used in PreK! Furthermore, the goal bank is still helpful! In second grade, I am receiving students from the first grade co-teaching class with goals that are more curriculum-based. However, goal bank sheets help make it easier to remember all of the goals that students can have. Yes, my district’s curriculum has a clear progression of skills they want students to know, but it is still easy to miss something. Thus, by staying organized with all of the FREE resources, I am able to ensure students are receiving the best help I can possibly give them.
Collecting data on a day-to-day basis is a key part for educators. However, it is also important to take retention data. By doing this, you can determine if students are losing skills that they have learned over weekends or long breaks.
When this happens, it is important to add in some review or extra practice to avoid the content becoming too rigorous. Personally, I love the Editable Retention Data Sheet Bundle because I can create charts for what I need, such as vacations. Likewise, I also love the Creative Curriculum Editable Retention Data Sheet Bundle since it includes focus questions for the different units.
For more info on these topics, please visit my Facebook group to watch my live on data and my Instagram profile to watch my instagram story highlight.
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