Last week I shared our story of the tightening up that has happened lately in Rm. 202. It was based on this picture of our day last Wednesday:
We decided (ok, well Evan and Emily really had the idea) to keep track of our behavior every day, and to use our Behavior Over Time charts to help better guide our choices.
We started by drawing a blank chart, and then over the last week have gotten in the routine of stopping briefly after each portion of our day to reflect on how it went. Kiddos think about where they think the dot should go (based on their behavior + or – or so/so) and then I move my finger up the chart and kids raise their hands to show when they think I should stop. Once we draw the dot, we talk about what evidence they have that supports that choice. Instead of just saying “It’s good,” they have to provide real reasons why that makes sense. As a class we come to a consensus about what is the right dot placement.
We left for the weekend feeling really great about the changes we’d made in our classroom, and agreed during our class meeting that we were on a much better track than we had been even just a few days before. We had been thinking about how our choices impacted the whole class (not just ourselves!), and how if we certainly can try to influence our friends, we are ultimately only in charge of our own decisions. When I asked kiddos to tell me what they thought the last two days had been so much better, many said it was our Xs system and their wanting to make sure they got the reward, but I think Sara really nailed it when she said that our BOT graphs help us see how we’re doing. We are definitely a bunch of visual learners (me included!), and having things around that remind us of what to do or help us better understand what’s going on is extremely helpful.
On Monday, our graph looked like this:
As we started Tuesday, we talked briefly about a goal that we could make for ourselves after looked at the behavior data we had collected the day before. Many mentioned that we had to do a better job of listening, working hard and cooperating during math so our dot could move up.
Here is our Tuesday BOT graph:
Let me show you again, side-by-side:
We founded it the oddest thing that they were almost identical! This was puzzling to us, but obviously gave us good data that we had something specific to work on for Wednesday: math time.
As we started our day today, I had them think about goals again, but had them write them down. This way we could be more clear on what we had decided to work on, and by announcing our intentions, it made it more likely that we would make them happen.
Another thing that we added to our routine today was that each kiddo got their own BOT graph to mark. Amber and Millie had started doing this independently the other day, and it seemed like a super idea to share with the whole group. We us a LMS called eBackpack that allows me to easily push out documents to kiddos, lets them mark them up and then send them back to me. Easy as pie I took a picture of our blank chart at the beginning of the day and each student was responsible to mark THEIR behavior throughout the day today. This also added a level of authenticity to our class dots, as kiddos used their personal marks to inform their decision for our collective one.
They were pleased to try this for themselves, and were very motivated to give good evidence for their dot choices, as well as keep their graph up at the top. I heard lots of kids say things like “Wow, this is a great day!” or “Look at my graph, it’s practically straight!” or “I need to make my dot move up next time.” It was great to listen to how they were really thinking through the cause and effect of the whole thing, their motivation to do well and how we had good evidence for that description of the day as a “good one.” We could point to specific things we had done (or not done!) that helped make our day successful.
Here’s today’s graph:
We were SO pleased with where our math dot ended up today!
Here are a few of kiddo graphs from the day:
We were also able to have a great conversation about our afternoon today; it was Wednesday last week when this whole mess started anyway. Reflecting on our behavior using hard data was so helpful!
I’m not sure how long we will keep this up. As with most things we do it’ll be around as long as we need it, and usually it’s the kiddos who help me decide when that is. We’ll try the personal graphs again tomorrow and Friday and maybe even find a way to incorporate them with weekly reflection sheets. I hope to be able to send them home at some point, too, to help spur conversations around dinner tables about data collection at school!
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