Friday, January 16, 2015

Data Tracking with Numbers

My desk is a mess.  I'll admit it, no shame here.  Usually I have piles and piles of paper.  In past years, I have kept individual data folders for my students in order to show them their growth and progress.  As wonderful as these folders were, my sanity couldn't afford anymore paper!  Goal setting is an important part of learning, so I couldn't just ditch it.  By setting their own goals and seeing how they are progressing toward the goals, students are able to adjust their learning.  They can see the correlation between effort and success.  In an effort to keep the good and let go of the bad, I am trying something new:  digital data folders.  

My kids love using the iWork suite from Apple.  Pages has become one of their favorite apps for creating documents.  So, Numbers was a logical place to graph and chart data.  Numbers works just like Pages, except, it does things with "numbers."

This student was able to see how a little extra strategy work resulted in a big payoff.

I created a template for my students to keep track of their data in Numbers.  This way, I could ensure that data would populate the bar graph correctly.  This process is so simple though, next time I will let my 4th graders create the Data Tracker themselves.    It is important on the tracker to have the students list their goals.  In my class, we call our goal a "green score."  This number was made by using STAAR's progress goals as a starting point, and then the student and I adjusted it as needed.  By putting the goal on the data tracker students can look at the trends in their data, as well as, how close they are to their own personal goal.

When I conferred with this student, we discussed the inconsistencies in her scores and then brainstormed solutions.

My favorite part of this using Numbers to track student data is the reactions the students have when they see their bar graphs move!  Having an interactive document makes a big impact on how students perceive the data.  

Tips for using in your classroom:
  • The iWork suite is amazing for upper elementary grades.  The apps are very easy to learn and you will not lose class time "teaching the apps."  Best of all, once they learn one, they know how to use them all.  Pages, Numbers, and Keynote all have the same work flow.  Icons have the same function in all three programs.
  • The students can email a PDF to you or a parent straight from the app. Gotta love simplicity! 
  • My kids immediately started to change and tweak my template.  I love how quickly they caught on to how the app functions.  I, however, should have set some boundaries such as:  you must have a bar graph, or don't make your background a picture.  I think its important to let them tweak and explore, but the document still has to function as intended.  

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