Why do we monitor progress ? What is the real purpose of our Tiers and forms? I thought about this today as I sat down to fill out a form for one of my students. I know exactly where this student is, what the strengths are, what the struggles are. Getting all that on paper, or entered into a short form to kick start the meeting process, is just a chore. And finding time at the end of the day to reflect and scribe the data from that 15 minute small group lesson 4 hours ago….well most days it’s hard to make that happen. That’s real.
So I started thinking. How can this task be transformed into what it really should be? How can this be moved from something I do at the end of the day (week) to Center Stage? After all, this information is golden. The key to unlocking the potential and closing gaps in this child lies in this information. If I could just somehow bring it to life. Lay it out like a road map complete with street names, detours, mileage, landmarks, pictures ….
A map. Data. Pictures. Video? Recorded in real time and then over time, as we travel, the path starts to reveal itself. I could then take others along this journey. Show them the landmarks. Give them the guided tour.
So I started to create the map. Destination Success.
The first thing I did was decide I need to be able to record data as it occurs. Which means for me on my iPad. Right there as it is happening. I need a spreadsheet to enter this into. Excel doesn’t work on iPads. But wait….google drive does. Hello Google sheets! I opened the program and built the sheet. Columns and rows for date, frequency, task, skill, intervention, data, and next steps. Now I can capture my thoughts immediately as the student works. Over time the path will begin to reveal itself. But wait…it still isn’t “alive”.
After a little more tweaking I discovered the missing piece of luggage I need for this journey. Artifacts. Pictures I can take -in real time- and upload right alongside the entry. And that led to….VIDEO! Yes, if I’m testing fluency, for example, why not video it and upload that as well? And so, my map was born. A 360 degree tour of my student. Dropbox was the answer for downloading…and then linking…the pictures and video. All that was left was to try it out. But wait…other educators are also along for this journey. This student receives instruction through a pullout program every day for 30 minutes. The nifty thing about google docs is they can be shared. Others can be assigned editing rights, input data, and the document is automatically updated on all ends. Goodbye email!
Today I worked with this student, and as each task was completed I recorded. I captured this kiddo working through problems, choosing strategies, explaining thinking. I recorded data. I recorded my thoughts and what our next steps would be. The entire process was 10 minutes. And I have it all to relive at any given time. I have a map, a direction, and a vehicle. The first step on our journey has begun, and we continue to build the map as we go.
It just might revolutionize this entire piece for me. How I reflect, how I teach, how someone learns, and how I capture it all….in living color.
Center Stage. I can’t think of a better place for progress monitoring.