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Data Tracking in Kindergarten

Hi guys!  It's Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive discussing ways to create a growth mindset in your Kindergarten classroom through the use of shared data!

Data tracking can be an important tool to help your students push themselves further, while gaining insight into what standards they must master.  Data tracking has taken many forms in my classroom over the years.  Most years, I would post a chart with each students name on it, and award stickers as they passed levels, such as, letter recognition, sight words, 100% on the spelling test, etc. This system has always worked well for my students and I.  We all know how motivating a sticker can be! I would introduce the data tracking chart, and the number of students who received 100% on their spelling test increased dramatically.

While I was pleased with the results, I couldn't help feeling bad for the students who rarely got to add another sticker to their chart.  Reasons varied for the students who earned a lower sticker amount, no parent support at home, beginning ELL skills, or just a lack of motivation.  I saw great results and motivation from 95% of the students, but it was that other 5% that concerned me.  In my mind, there had to be a better way to motivate students to achieve a goal without harming the self esteem of others.

To alleviate a public display of students who did or did not achieve a certain goal I started to complete our shared data charts in a different way.

Now, instead of tracking which student has completed a task, I track how many total students in the class have reached a goal.  For example, in this chart from the beginning of the year letter sound inventory, 4 students knew the sound of D, 6 students knew the sounds of E, etc.  As a whole class, we make goals about where we want to go from here.  Your goals can be as small or as grandiose as you would like, as long as they are realistic and achievable by your students. 

For example, you could make the goal of everyone in class learning the letter sounds of A, B, and C by the end of the week.  The awesome thing about setting a goal as a class, is that the students work with (and sometimes for you) to help everyone in class achieve the goal.  When I give the students goals like this, I often find them quizzing each other during down time.  If we have a goal like this, I will give them flashcards with this particular letter and sorting cards with beginning sounds on them only containing those letters to practice with.  You have to give them the tools they need to succeed.

Motivation is key!  What are they working towards?  What will they get when they reach their goals?  A Friday afternoon Clifford showing on Netflix? 10 extra minutes of recess? A Star Wars sticker for everyone?  Prizes don't have to be large, they just have to be meaningful to your particular group of students.  After we complete our goal, we set a new, often times larger goal for the next week, and begin to work together to achieve it!

This type of goal setting can be done with so many different skills in Kindergarten.  Weekly spelling tests, high frequency words, guided reading levels, whole class reading levels, letter recognition, letter sounds, number recognition, and the list goes on and on!

This is not complicated to produce, and it takes little time to manage, but the benefits you get from working toward a common goal together are invaluable.

At the end of the week I will be doing a follow-up post on data tracking and goal setting with individual students over at my blog with some freebies included, I hope you can join me!

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