It’s that exciting time of the year again! Christmas music has already begun playing on my XM radio, and the first nine week’s progress reports have been completed, sent home, and filed away! OK, I’m actually only excited about the Christmas music. Progress monitoring has a way of stressing me out, especially at the beginning of a new school year. Some of the students are new to my caseload and I am just getting used to their goals and what data I need to be collecting. Whereas some of the other students on my caseload have been on my roster for four years, making it slightly easier. Over the past nine years I’ve come up with a few different ways to stay organized and on top of my data collecting, throughout each marking period.
During the eight years where I had my own pull-out classroom, my students had their own individual binders where all of their data was collected, recorded, and graphed. Oh how I miss doing this! I used data collecting sheets from my Progress Monitoring Recording Binder. For this particular student (his binder is shown above), I collected data weekly – I didn’t fill in any information in the photos below due to confidentiality. Sometimes I used tracking sheets with just the students’ goals on them, and other times I used the graphing sheets. My students loved using the graphing sheets! They always wanted to see their progress and how they were improving. On both tracking sheets, you are able to insert the date you collected data or Week 1, Week 2, …etc. Personally, I like to insert the date. Whichever sheet I choose to use, I keep documentation of the goal(s) being monitored directly behind them. Then, at the end of the marking period, I go through my Progress Monitoring Checklist to make sure I have everything I need to be completed. Over the past few years of teaching, checklists have become my best friend!
Now, that I am an inclusion teacher, I collect progress a little differently. I collect data while in the regular class, because I unfortunately don’t have a time where I can pull them to come in to my office. All last year, as well as this current school year, I kept a Progress Monitoring binder. This binder is part of my Inclusion/Co-Teaching Binder. I also have what I call a progress monitoring cheat sheet. When I’m not in my office, it’s hard to remember what I’m monitoring for each student. Some of the students in my inclusion class are on other case managers’ rosters. My “cheat sheet” reminds me of each students’ case manager, as well as their individual goal and any notes I take. I use my Progress Tracking sheets to keep all students’ data in one spot. I create a different sheet for each class I am gathering student progress in. I must say - this has been the best way for me to collect data, while co-teaching in the regular classroom!
A few years ago, my district decided they wanted us to send home not only the IEP progress reports, but also charts and graphs that display progress. So, I created graphs on Excel to do just that! My Progress Monitoring Charting &Graphing in Excel is very user friendly, the teachers I work with love using it! I created a “How to Guide” to go along with it, that shows exactly how I use this for progress monitoring in my classroom. I save each Excel document separately, with the students’ initials in the title. I input all information about the student’s goal at the top of the spreadsheet. Then, when I input the data I collected into their chart, it’s automatically graphed! Yes, it’s THAT easy. Unlike my other forms of data collecting, not everything in the Excel document is able to be edited - due to the fact that I had to lock the graph and data table so the formatting wouldn’t be accidentally messed up. I must say, out of all of the different ways progress can be reported and mailed home to my students’ parents, they love receiving it in this form! It also makes me feel on top of my work when I can pull out graphed student progress during a meeting!
Alright, I’m not done yet. I couldn’t just stop there! I had to take collecting progress just one step further, mostly because it was at the request of one of my colleagues. I feel that I, as well as a few other teachers I know, have a love/hate relationship with post-it notes and progress monitoring. I LOVE using post-it notes as reminders and to scribble notes down on, but I HATE that they’re stuck all over my things and that sometimes I forget what it was I wanted to remember. Ugh. So, to try to help get rid of my hatred, I came up with Progress Monitoring Sticky Notes! These sticky notes will help you record data for 5 days, 9 weeks, by trimester, by quarter, and/or monthly. They make data collecting easier, when you’re in a pinch, as well as taking notes on progress. I don’t find myself questioning what my scribbles meant. I’ve been loving using them so much, I’m making them free for all!:) Knowing firsthand the agony that can come with collecting data and recording progress, I am all about finding different ways to make it as painless as can be!