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Teacher Back to School Supplies - Shoes, Clothes.... Data?

Aug 06, 2012

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Every teacher in America is saying the same thing "where did the summer go". August begins and educators start their mental migration from June's "let's party" to "let's prepare for the new school year".

Let’s start with the obvious: Back to School Supplies What Every Teacher NeedsJust like parents are bombarded with the Back to School student necessities. New back pack, various schools supplies, clothes with the correct brands, shoes again correct brand Mom, laptop or iPad for the very persuasive kid. Teachers are compiling their list of Back to School necessities.

A Teacher's Back-to-School Supply List

  • New shoes must be designer; must be comfortable
  • New clothes must be stylish; must be affordable
  • New trendy brief case or back pack; no I think the old one will work
  • New summer stories to tell the kids; summer was lackluster I can recycle some storiesWhale Bulletin Board
  • New bulletin board ideas; I can’t put up that Studying the Ocean is a Whale of a Good Time coming out of the whale’s spout again

The not so obvious: Back to School Supplies What Every Teacher Needs

The not obvious list of back to school supplies requires reflection. Real reflection is hard. It requires deep analysis and objective conclusions. You see as a teacher or administrator you are in a very unique position to fix what you screwed up. You get a do-over. Last year my kids did not really do well on (pick your concept) on Mendelian genetics. After some real reflection I decide what went wrong and how I can do a better job this time on Mendelian genetics.

Information is the critical back to school supplies that all teachers need. Yes you have a good idea of areas that the where last year’s students could improve. But if that evidence is antidotal then you are missing pieces of important information. We need to adopt a more medical model in K-12 and compile all the vital data and then put together a well thought out instructional plan based on that data.

Data about my students last year; Yea I know it’s a new year and I don’t have these students Action Planso I can’t affect their learning. But with this data I can make curricular and scope and sequence adjustments. Maybe this year I change the timeline of a concept or cover it in greater detail based on the data results. Or maybe the instructional approach I used was confusing and I need to try a different method this year. There will be many important instructional modifications I can make for this year’s students based on the last year’s data.

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Data Access

Access to last year’s data in an easy to use format (Data Informed Instruction)

Data about the students this year; assemble a careful needs assessment for my classes. The needs assessment must contain student strengths and weakness both individually and at the class level. The needs will be academic and behavioral. Maybe a student is struggling academically but the previous data shows poor attendance then step one is to reduce the absenteeism. Study the various data sets like state exams, grades, local exams, national exams, teacher observation notes, whatever you can gather. From the data decide what must be taught at the detailed eligible content level.

Access to data on this year’s students (Data Driven Instruction)

Ok now we need to connect instruction to assessment. All good teachers check for understanding after instruction. They may do it with formative assessments, benchmark assessments, or a simple Q/A. But it is a fact that a good teacher must know if the students grasped the concept or should there be re-teaching. The data must be collected on the students to measure how well they are learning and where do I the teacher need to make adjustments in instruction so we do well on the state’s high stakes measurement exam.

Access to benchmark data to predict performance and make good instructional decisions (data from common assessments)

The Final Teacher Back-to-School Shopping List

Here is the final list of important but not obvious back to school supplies that all teachers need. Included is a detailed classroom level action plan to guide you through the evaluation process leading you down the path to success.

  • Access to last year’s data in an easy to use format (Data Informed Instruction)
  • Access to data on this year’s students (Data Driven Instruction)
  • Access to benchmark data to predict performance and make good instructional decisions (data from common assessments)
  • Download a detailed classroom level action plan to guide you through the evaluation process

Get the Classroom Level Action Plan

Download the Classroom Level Action Plan now.



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