Saturday, March 19, 2016

Noticing Growth

Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Beth, Anna, Kathleen & Deb for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

The past couple of days I've conferenced with some of my students about their growth in reading. After being out for almost a week, I was able to notice some things quickly. We begin every block with "Status of the Class" (from Steven Layne's book "Igniting a Passion for Reading"). That's where I ask every student what book they are reading and what page they are on. It's a quick and powerful part of class. Students hear what others are reading and that turns into an instant book recommendation. I know what every student is reading and I quickly learn their preferences.

When I returned to school and we began our status of the class, I noticed one of the girls was reading a different book. I scanned the status for the last book she'd been reading. I remembered it clearly because four girls formed their own book club, picked the same book and nudged each other to read each day and night. They checked in with each other and sat together during silent reading. I asked her about her book. She looked at me with a puzzled expression and said, "I finished it last week." I finished the class and then she and I conferenced. We discussed her as a reader in September. How it took her weeks to finish a book about the same length. We looked back in the status of the class binder and noted page numbers each day. We compared that to now and how she finished that book in three days...a huge accomplishment for her! We talked about how she's grown so much as a reader. She sat up taller. 

The next day we took our reading rates. I learned about this practice from Penny Kittle's book Book Love. We read for ten minutes and they count the pages they've read. I take into account the book they are reading (graphic novel, novel in verse, novel) and the page they are on (beginning, middle, end). Once they give me all of that information, I record it. I wish I could say I've recorded reading rates once a quarter, but it's only been twice this year. This showed me the growth of my students. Another student showed significant growth in her reading rate. When we conferenced, she glowed in her confidence. 

I'm not a fan of the word "data". Having said that, meaningful data like our status of the class and our reading rates is certainly powerful. Reading it in context and talking to students about what they've achieved is wonderful.

Today, I celebrate the growth of my readers. Way to go, sixth graders!
Thank you to Ruth Ayres for providing this space to share our celebrations. Please join us and share your own!


17 comments:

  1. I love this! I had my students reflect on their writing so far this year and it was great for them to see just how much they've grown and all that they are confident in including in their writing now. I know your students gained so much confidence by being able to recognize their own growth as readers. Very powerful!

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  2. The word "meaningful" says it all! I'm so glad that you were feeling well enough to return to school and that you were able to celebrate growth with your students. I love the image of your students glowing and standing a little straighter after talking about their achievements. I'm sure they were delighted to have you back!

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  3. Growth as a readers is such a wonderful celebration. Thanks to Clare and Tammy from Assessment in Perspective I have learned to appreciate data.

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  4. I love the way you approach this data! I'm learning this year how to use my data joyfully in a new setting, being able to only look at the whole child! Congratulations to you and your sixth graders. This is a powerful celebration.

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  5. Growth is a intrinsic reward and was as a celebration of learning for all involved. You captured this Michelle.

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  6. What I love is that you are collecting data when you are noticing reasons to want it! This makes it extra meaningful - it is there to support your observations

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  7. What I love is that you are collecting data when you are noticing reasons to want it! This makes it extra meaningful - it is there to support your observations

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  8. Being gone did have a bonus, didn't it? You were able to see change more readily. I do love Penny Kittle's ways of keeping track, think it is awesome that she does it, and now you are learning its value too. I loved hearing about those two students, Michelle. Great for them too.

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  9. Meaningful data is key!!! I love doing status of the class. I've gotten away from it, but feel like maybe I should bring it back. It's very powerful to watch their growth through this tool, as well as track patterns and behaviors with students!

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  10. This kind of data is powerful because it is taken over time , is reflective of what readers really do and has no penalties associated with it ! It allows for students to really reflect on their practice. Trading rates remind me of ❤️rates!

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  11. I love how you described the girls as sitting taller and glowing in confidence over their reading growth! Way to go!

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  12. Michelle I liked this celebration of your readers and the practical suggestions for effective practice in reading so much I felt compelled to share it on my Facebook page as well as Twitter. An excellent contribution to the cause!

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  13. Michelle I liked this celebration of your readers and the practical suggestions for effective practice in reading so much I felt compelled to share it on my Facebook page as well as Twitter. An excellent contribution to the cause!

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  14. I love how one of your readers sat up taller. Great detail. I do live how those status moments can grow into quick book talks. Powerful practice, Michelle!

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  15. This post is proof that independent reading is powerful to growing a reader and when a teacher makes it a priority, she shows her students the significance reading can have in all aspects of their lives, even data points. For some, this data is highly motivating. Thanks.

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  16. meaningful data really is what we need to do. Wonderful post - wonderful progress shown in your students!

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