It is taking much longer than anticipated. But that is always the case in teaching. I began Friday calling my students one-by-one to my desk to have a data dialogue with me. We keep paper data folders in a crate in our classroom, and we also track data on a Google Doc on our Chromebooks. They used these to record information from our meeting. First, we talked about their latest STAR360 Data, a reading tracking measure that was introduced this year in secondary schools in my district. Using the Data Dialogue Steps as seen in the photo below, I discussed results with my students. Some were pleasantly surprised to see that they had improved from one checkpoint to the next. Others were concerned that they had dropped. A few admitted to not trying on the first exam, or the second. A couple more said they have been reading books more than usual and they think that has helped. I loved the process of discovery that these steps allow, rather then me being the bearer of the news. This way, students reach their own conclusions and make their own plans for success at the next checkpoint.
Besides the STAR360 data, we also discussed their performance at at Socratic Seminar we held the week prior. Students had worked in groups to prepare for the seminar on Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. Several confessed that their groups were not equally contributing to the prep work process, leaving some students with that wrenching feeling in their guts–I did more than she did, and we will all get the same grade. Maybe because I remember being the one who did all the work when I was in school, and the terrible feeling of injustice that leaves with a person–I do not let this happen in my room. I like them to struggle through the process of working in groups, as that is a real-world, workplace skill. But I will not punish all for the apathy of a few. So part of our one-on-one chats was looking at their peer evaluations and asking each student if the assessment was fair. I allow each student to accept the score given to them by their peers, or provide reasons why it isn’t fair. By the time they leave my desk, they are satisfied with the grade recorded for their portion of the group work. When students are given the opportunity to be honest and open about what really happened, I find that they actually stay true to their word. A few students said they deserved no more than a D. Others said, no, I lead the group–I earned an A. That, to me, is better than any feedback I could every give them.