Maybe some of you who speak education-ese are aware of this, but last week I had a break through with my kids. It was more of a lightbulb for me, than for my students!
Standards Tracking – we teach standards to our students. These are statements that provide teachers with a direction for teaching. Also, they give an application for topic – such as “Use coordinate geometry to prove properties of congruent, regular and similar quadrilaterals.” It provides the students with the task that they should be able to complete. I have heard of people having students track their standards throughout the year. I haven’t really bought into the idea yet, but now I am hooked! When I say track, I mean that the students are looking at their success on a specific standard to identify their areas of strength and weakness.
This week, in preparation for the EOC (11 days left!), I tested my kids on Monday and Tuesday. Then I had them identify their weakness using a spreadsheet that I gave them. It was so powerful! These students (most of them) engaged the investigation of finding their weakness. They were able to celebrate their successes and have a taste of ice cream! Not literal ice cream, but a taste of success.
A wise man once said, “Success is like ice cream, but nothing like sushi.” – Hal Bowman, Teach like a Rockstar
If you haven’t had ice cream is so long, how good it is? It is the best thing to ever touch your lips! Success is the same way for our students. If students – you know who I’m talking about… ‘those students’ – haven’t tasted success in so long, even the slightest bit of success is like ice cream to them. You may not see it through their tough exteriors, but their internal celebration is there!
After students identified their weakness, the following day I grouped them by their weakness and provided them with some guided notes and extra practice to complete with the support of their peers and myself. The final step was that they completed a 5-question quiz to demonstrate that they improved on this standard. I already plan on doing this next year with my quarter test and maybe even my chapter tests.
Conclusion: If you can create moments of success for ‘those’ students, they will be putty in your hands. They will feel safe to try with you because they know that there is a possibility of success. Standards Tracking allows students to see their successes, no matter how small! Those small successes could provide you an open door to reaching them!
If you would like to see the tracking sheet that I used, Click Here. Warning: it took some work to put this together for this specific test, however the reward was well worth the work!