Today in PLC, a colleague described how she keeps a spread sheet of things that happen on screen. Like a cat walks across the screen. Instead of chiding the student, she records, “Student has a cat. Ask its name later.” That tiny little move is about relationship now and later.— Paul W. Hankins (@PaulWHankins) August 26, 2020
I was inspired by this tweet to come up with an easy system for teachers to keep track of what they know about students. As I have written, this fall everyone teaching remotely is correctly focused on developing relationships with students across the distance.
Why Relationship “Data”
Whether teaching remotely or in person, relationships are at the heart of teaching. The purpose of using a chart to track student data is to help you connect with all kids. There are several important ways to use it to inform your instruction.
- PBL planning: design projects that match your students’ passions and needs. You can tailor the final products and audiences to things that your students are interested in and excited about.
- Creating groups: intentionally group students by skillsets. This is especially important when a final product includes technology or art. Make sure every group has at least one person strong in that area.
- Personalized Projects: for students who are not invested in school find ways to “hook” them by connecting the project to specific areas in their chart. I have even designed an entire project around one student who was particularly disengaged.
- Introverts: the chart can help ensure that quiet students do not fall through the cracks and that you notice and talk with them daily. If a student has many empty boxes prioritize conversations with them to get to know them better.
There are two versions of the forms: 2 pages in Google Docs or Google Sheets. When you sign up for my weekly blogposts you will receive access to both versions that you can edit as you wish for your classroom.
How to edit
These forms cover lots of categories, some of which may not apply to you and your students. For example, “work” is a category for high school students who have jobs and “favorite animal” may be more appropriate for elementary (although I have had high school students whose favorite animal was very important to them). So feel free to delete or change the headings of any column to make it work for your classroom community.
You can delete a column by right clicking on it and a menu will pop up to delete (or add a column if you wish).
The GDoc table version works best online as the size of the boxes adjust to the text as you type. If you wish for a printed version, you can hit enter inside of cells to make them larger or change their default size in Google Sheets.