“Data Notebooks for elementary students? How in the world do you find time to fit data tracking into your schedule?” I get this question quite often!
I completely understand where it’s coming from. As educators, the last thing we want is anything or anyone robbing us from our precious instructional time. The thought of adding data notebooks to our routine can seem overwhelming and intimidating.
What are Student Data Notebooks?
Data notebooks are designed to help them set and achieve academic goals. Students reflect on previous quarters, set new quarterly goals, and track their academic progress throughout the school year. Learn more about Leadership and Data Notebooks here.
Free Student Data Notebook Template
Do you want to start tracking quarterly goals with your students? Try out this free goal setting tracking printable PDF. Also includes SMART Goals breakdown that elaborates on how to set SMART goals with your students.
How to Effectively Use Student Data Notebooks:
Picture this: It’s a brand new year. You take out a pretty stationary pad and write down a list of goals you want to achieve in the new year.
You stuff your list inside of a drawer.
Flash forward to December and now it’s time to reflect on those goals you set.
But where is that pad of paper? You search your entire house trying to find it. “Oh, there it is!” You take out the pad with your list written on it and quickly realize you had completely forgotten what your goals even were. You haven’t looked at this list in over 11 months!
Needless to say, you probably haven’t achieved many of those goals yet if you forgot what they were.
Just like adults, students need to see their goals and progress on a daily basis. It holds them accountable and motivates them to achieve those goals!
Students keep their data notebooks at their desk at all times. You’ll want students to feel comfortable referencing their data. It should be a familiar tool that they can easily at any time of the day. Essentially, students are constantly working on their goals– during center time, independent activities, and assessments.
Consistency is key.
When do Students Graph Data in their Notebooks?
The million dollar question: “But when do your students have time to graph in data?”
Fridays are assessment days in our classroom. At the end of the day, I have set aside a ‘data block’ for my students. These 15-20 minutes are focused on reviewing all of our assessments from the previous week and graphing in data.
We take this 15-20 minute data block very seriously!
I distribute all of the assessments from the previous week. (It usually consists of about about 3-4 graded assignments.) Students are able to see their grade, what areas they struggled with, and what they excelled in. I walk around the classroom assisting students and answering any questions they may have about their assessment score.
Meanwhile, students take out their Student Data Notebooks and begin graphing the data on their assessment tracker sheets.
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Student Leadership Notebook
This editable student data notebook contains all the templates needed to mold tiny leaders in your classroom! Includes printable & digital data notebook.
Student-Teacher Conferences to Discuss Goals & Progress
Meeting with students to discuss progress and goals is such an important part of data tracking. Students might be able to graph in their data, but they need conferencing to actually understand how this data can come in handy.
I host student-teacher conferences every quarter and meet with each student for about 2-3 minutes.
How do I make time for conferences? I space them out so I don’t feel overwhelmed!
I meet with students individually while the class is working on morning bell ringers or any other independent activities. Conferences usually take me about a week or two to complete. I might meet with 3-4 students per day.
During our Student-Teacher Conferences, We:
Reflect on the quarter. What went well? What do they feel they need improvement on?
Look at larger assessment data. We use iReady in our district. Therefore, I print out my students iReady usage and diagnostic assessment scores. Students graph in their iReady data.
I break down benchmark data ahead of time using the reporting tools on iReady. We discuss what standards in specific they are struggling with and how they can be improved.
Students bring their weekly assessment data graphs (math and reading) and we discuss the data on those.
As a team, we decide what an idea goal would be for the upcoming quarter. Students write their SMART goal inside their Data Notebook.
When students head back to their seat, they fill in their quarterly reflection and new quarter goals inside their data notebook. They are motivated and prepared to tackle their new goals!
I hope this post inspires you to incorporate student data notebooks in your classroom. They truly are a game-changing tool that will prepare your students for success!