Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Data Folders -- & a GIVEAWAY!

First of all, it has been a long time since I've blogged. This year has been busy and crazy, but I'm hoping to check in a little more this second half of the year. ;)

Second - I can't believe I haven't blogged about data folders yet! I really thought I already had. This was quite the project I worked on this summer, and I wasn't quite sure how they would really work in the classroom. BUT, now that I've been using them for an entire semester, I love them!! Please read on if you are interested in having your students track their own data...weekly...and INDEPENDENTLY!! Yes, you read that right! ;)

At the beginning of last year, I was trying to find a way for my students to track their own data. I had a really hard time finding something that was kid-friendly enough for my second graders. Everything seemed to be geared towards the upper grades. Eventually, I convinced myself that my brand new second graders could track their data by each Common Core standard (and that I had the time and patience to manage that), and bought a shiny new pack on TPT and created beautiful Data Folders for each student. I'll tell you that we did open them. Once. *ONCE!* ((As a side-note, the pack I bought was ah-mazing, it was just not appropriate for my second graders. :) ))

 Tracking student data has huge benefits -- most of all being that students really begin to take ownership for their learning, they're self-motivated to do well, and as a bonus, they will be graphing EXPERTS by the end of the year!!

*The Set-Up*

Each folder has three sections: Reading, Math & Reflections. (We don't take true Science & SS grades, so I left those out. However, you can customize these sections all your little heart desires!) I used the little post-it tabs to make it quick and easy for students to get where they need to go!


I store their data folders in this hanging file crate. I didn't want the folders to get crammed inside of their desks, or to be inaccessible to them. This method has really worked out perfectly for our classroom. 

 *How We Use Them*

At the beginning of the year, we did a lot of practicing during whole-group. We practiced how to graph, and how to find the appropriate page to graph on. The practice paid off, because now my sweet kiddos can do this completely on their own.
On Fridays, I will pass out all of their graded tests, quizzes and assignments to them. I will list the titles and dates for them on the board, and they flip right to the correct page to graph their scores. I flip-flop between doing this during whole-group and small-group (to be honest, it depends on how much time we have! Fridays are always a little hectic.). I walk around my classroom and hear things such as
"I'm improving! My scores are going up!" 
"I'm really going to work harder on my spelling next week."
"Great job, Alan!! You worked so hard in math!"

It.is.AWESOME!! They really do get it, and it has motivated many of them more than I could have thought!

After they're done graphing, they turn right to the "Reflections" section, my favorite part! Each Friday, they think through and write down 2 things they did great at that week, as well as 1 thing they want to improve on next week. It really is fun to see what they come up with. This part took the most practice at the beginning -- I had a lot of kiddos who wanted to write that they did great at reading and math each week. We really practiced being specific and picking out moments they were really proud of that week.
 *This was from my line leader of the previous week, who was having trouble stopping at the correct stopping points in the hall. ;) It's so cute the things they pick out!

Then, that's it! They're done for the week. My students do actually use their data folders on a daily basis as well. As they take AR tests, they log them in their data folders. It's very motivating for them to fill up their reading logs, they are always so proud of how many books they've read!

*Are Data Folders Right for You?!*     

There's definitely no wrong time to start data folders! Several of my teammates are just beginning them this semester. I created this pack to be completely EDITABLE so that teachers can tweak it to fit their needs. You'll find dozens of editable pages so that you can create the perfect data folders for your class!!! 
Enter to win a copy for yourself, as well as an additional item of your choice from my store! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway  If you do use data folders - What do you use? How do you use them?! I'd love to hear! :)