Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘data overload’

For Data’s Sake!:Teaching Interruptus!


It’s the middle of the year, and that means only one thing. It’s data collection time! We have to STAR, ORF or DORF, WTW, universally screen, and commonly assess our kids all by the data collection deadline! My poor babies.:( READ MORE

Where Does Data Come From? : Replacing “Teach”er with “Test”

Data can guide instruction. I get it. I have used data to guide instruction, and it works.

But just like anything else, too much of a good thing makes it… too much! READ MORE

“I Apologize”:An Open letter to My Students!

Dear Kids,

I am sorry.

I am sorry that, yet again, I am placing another test (or assessment if you like using big words) on your desk. I  am sorry that I am, again, forcing you to take another test.

Yes, I know this is the 3rd test in a week, but you don’t understand.READ MORE

photo credit: Dave Keeshan via photopin cc

Data! Data!Data! and Presenting Playfully!

This post is twofold, a little about data and a little about a playful presentation about data.

We celebrate data, “Data Day!”, on June 11, this is a districtwide thing we got going on. Every school gets together as a staff and “celebrates” the data that we have gathered. I have nothing against data.  As a matter of fact, my team got a better understanding of how to use data to guide instruction this year. We used data to plan carousels(students travel from room to room to hit on a certain skill), focus on particular strategies, etc….

However,  I did have an issue with my new friend, data. In order to gain data, I had to assess my students, assess, assess, assess.  It became an endless round of assessing, and my students were sick of it! I can’t blame them. Formative tests, pre/post tests, DCAS, common assessments(district), universal screening… And then, guess who has to input the data if it is not on a scantron form?

That’s enough griping, on to the playful part! For Data Day, we have to “think outside the box” and highlight the data we are most proud of. I used Sliderocket  to “show off” our data. Below is the video I made with GoAnimate  and placed at the end of our presentation.  Sometimes you just have to have fun with these things or you will go crazy! LOL  Here’s something to think about next time you want to get your point across and have fun at the same time!


I-Am-Mrs.-Smith( Spoken Robotically)

Oh, I long for the days when I used to be able to teach!  No, you didn’t miss anything, I still teach, but I don’t TEACH, the way I used to, the way I loved to.  Yes, I use technology, and it has opened up a whole new world for me, but I miss teaching the old way. Sometimes, I feel like a robot, I am micro managed every second, minute, hour, day,week, month, of the school year.  I feel like a body in the room,  programmed to teach not only what they want me to teach, but also how to teach it, and when to teach it.  I can’t believe there was a time when I decided what part of the curriculum I would teach.  I created my own schedules,and taught using my discretion. I was trusted to do this job and I did it well. 

 Now, we have pacing guides. I understand pacing guides allow everyone to be on the same page, and I’m sure they make it easier for new teachers,but come on, give me a little space! My problem is when  supervisors come in your room, and run to the principal to tell him that you are not where you are supposed to be on the pacing guide. Hmmm…?   What happened to the philosophy that all children don’t learn at the same pace?

 My dismal observation began when I input May dates on my Google calendar. These dates not only included, state testing, but also practice for state testing. Lots of assessing happens towards the end of the year, and we need all the data we can get our hands on, right?   My desolation increased, when during  a meeting,  we were gleefully informed,  that the next school year we will have, wait for it… a Reading pacing guide! I almost couldn’t contain my happiness!(Sarcasm intended). I guess the Reading manual divided into days of the week is not enough.

I used to write plays and have my students perform them. There’s nothing like “Brown Sugar and the Seven Homeboys” performed by 5th graders.  I miss Poetry Day, which I didn’t get to  last year because of our rigid schedule. I’m trying to squeeze it in this year, but I don’t think I can. 😦   I enjoyed having my students create commercials and film them. I miss the FUN educational stuff.  When I taught in NY, we used to take the students on trips all the time. Now, I am only allowed two trips a year, because we don’t want to take away any “valuable teaching”  time.

I’ve already made up my mind. Next year,  I am allowing my students to do the FUN educational stuff again. We will have Poetry Day, the parents and students love it. We will create commercials while studying propaganda techniques. And maybe, just maybe, I can hear my 5th grade homeboys(and girls), “Heigh,ho,Heigh,ho” around the auditorium again!

Educational Leadership: “Pacing Guides” by Jane L. David

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