Today was our district's Data Day, a time of professional development that revolves around student achievement. While there is more to a student than an assessment score, it is important to take time to look at the data and use it to inform your instruction. As I prepared for today's activities, I read an article that summed up what this day is about: Teaching is not just about data...it's about blending the Art of Teaching with the Science of Teaching.
The day began as any other professional development session, establishing a purpose and common goals. After reviewing data collection, our Curriculum Director modeled Step 5 of the Data Teams process: Results Indicators. In planning the day's activities, I knew it was important to give teachers time to reflect upon the building and district data, but wanted to do it in a unique way, and that's where my love of Teach Like a Pirate and the hooks came into play! Rather than simply projecting the data on the screen and discussing one subject and grade level at a time, I decided to gamify our PD in the form of The Amazing (Data) Race. That's right, our staff was put into teams of 3-4, and had to accomplish nine tasks related to data, MTSS (Mult-tiered systems of Support) and assessments. Being a 1:1 school, I thought it was only fitting to have the task be accomplished with a different tech tool each time.
The Race Begins...
Each team was given an iPad and their first set of directions. Before setting off, teams had to take a group selfie and tweet out the photo and team name to #mvdatarace. This hashtag was used throughout the race and I set up Tweetbeam in our conference room to show team's tweets.
Task 1: Fact Fluency Data
Teams looked at our district and building's fact fluency data, and using Chatterpix created a thirty second public service announcement about why ten minutes of fact fluency practice each day is important.
Task 2: MTSS SketchNote
For this task, teams could either use Paper53 or Chart Paper to create a SketchNote of MTSS. The goal was to explain MTSS to someone not in education. The SketchNote was then tweeted out to the race hashtag.
Task 5: ELA Data
During task 5 teams looked at our building's ELA data. Once the data had been analyzed, teams used MoveNote to identify celebrations, inferences, and next steps. Teams then tweeted their MoveNote to #mvdatarace.
Task 3: DIBELS Data
In task three, teams looked at our building's DIBELS data and created a Popplet sharing celebrations, inferences, and next steps. A screenshot of the Popplet was then tweeted out.
Task 4: (Detour) Formative Assessment
Just like the real Amazing Race, ours had a detour. For this detour, teams could choose to either:
Route 1. create a Word Cloud using the WordSalad app with at least eight examples of formative assessments being used in their elementary classrooms.
Route 2. using ComicBook! create a three cell comic strip showing a formative assessment being used in an elementary classroom.
Which ever route the team chose required them to tweet out their finished formative assessment example.
Task 6: (Roadblock) Content goals, Language goals, and tasks
Teams had to choose one member to complete the Content goals, Language goals, and tasks puzzle on the StickAround app. Once they had checked their answers, and had a green smiley face on each item, they took a screenshot and tweeted it out.
Task 7: Math Data
Task seven required teams to look at the building's math data and was the only task where a tech tool wasn't used. Instead, teams filled out a Math Data sheet on which they identified celebrations, inferences, and next steps.
Task 8: Differentiation
For this task, teams created a HaikuDeck with at least eight slides, identifying examples and non-examples of differentiation. The completed HaikuDeck was tweeted to #mvdatarace.
Task 9: Reflection
As the race came to an end, I wanted teachers to take a moment to reflect on the data they've looked at and create a goal and one area to focus on. It's better to be proactive than reactive, so I wanted teachers to have time to plan ahead. The goal was then typed on ReciteThis.com and tweeted out.
Reflecting on the Race...
Overall, the Amazing Data Race went off without a hitch, unless you count the competitive nature of some of my colleagues and the fact that they began sabotaging other teams about half way through! I even had teachers thank me once it was over! I can count on one hand the number of times I've been thanked after providing a professional development session, so hearing people thank me for showing them data was huge! I think having a blend of data analysis and instructional strategy related tasks broke up the race into manageable pieces. Sabatoge aside, I do think I would do something similar if I were to facilitate Data Day again. Thankfully I have a year to come up with my next big idea!
I created the clue cards and data race logo on PowerPoint, and simply duplicated the slides before adding textboxes for each task. Once I decided the focus of each task, I then chose a tech tool that teachers would use to complete the task. I also wanted teachers to share their reflections and learning throughout the race, so I established a race specific hashtag for them to use during the duration of the race. All apps were preloaded on the iPads, and the StickAround puzzle was created and then loaded onto the iPads. Finally, I set up the tasks in locations throughout our building as well as directions to the next location.
If you're interested in any of the documents seen in this blog post, or have any questions, leave me a comment or fill out the contact form and I'll do my best to help!
Chapter 2: What Does Coaching Look Like?
Instructional Coaching is a partnership. There's really no simpler way to explain it. As a coach, I work alongside teachers as we work together to impact the teaching and learning that occurs in their classroom. What we focus on is entirely up to the classroom teacher. They are in the driver's seat. While the teachers are determining their desired coaching path, I focus on high-leverage practices that will impact the area (behavior, content knowledge, direct instruction, or formative assessment) teachers want to work on. In chapter two, Knight shares five actions coaches can take to accelerate teacher learning:
4. Providing Feedback
5. Providing Support
To be an effective coach, it isn't enough to simply know a lot about teaching, you also have to establish emotional connections. Whether you have been in your building for years or just a few months, you need to take time upfront to establish these connections. Once the relationships are there, the "heavy coaching" or coaching cycles that focus on discovering answers to the challenges present in a teacher's classroom can occur.
If you had to choose one word to guide you during 2015, what would it be?
Risk Taker? (yes, that's technically two words)
Growth minded? (also two words)
These are some of the words others have shared on Twitter's #oneword list. I went back and forth, trying to decide what my word would be. I wanted something that represented my desire to share my voice, generate positive changes in my community, achieve my moonshot goals, and make an impact. Finally, I chose fearless. By no means does this mean I don't expect to face anything scary or difficult, instead, I want to leave every situation knowing I stayed true to my beliefs, focused on the positive, and gave my all. I do not want to hold myself back, and have many opportunities I want to explore. I look forward to being fearless in 2015 as I continue to learn and grow as an educator, writer, and individual.