Week 6 – Essential Question – Data Collection

My plan is to use both direct observation and a self-assessment survey for my data collection. I considered writing a narrative of my observations, but I became concerned about whether I will get my questions answered. I have learned that five and six year olds are tricky. They can easily distract me with their cuteness and imaginative minds. I decided that it would be better for me to have an observation form, so I am going to make my own observational assessment form. I found a form on a website that I can tweak and change to suit my needs (Positive Environments, Network of Trainers, 1990). It is originally for problem behaviors, but I believe I can use it as a starting point for building my own form to assess engagement and why I have problem behaviors during my learning centers.

My plan is to observe and collect data over a one and a half week period. My students will have centers every day of the week for about an hour, which will allow for each student to spend about 8 minutes at each learning center. There will be reading, writing, math, science, social studies, art, and technology learning centers. During this time, I will pick a learning center and observe students as they rotate through that learning center. Each day, I will observe a different learning center until I have observed all the students in each learning center. I have thirteen morning students and twelve afternoon students, so I will not have to observe more than two students at any given time. I am also going to note the number of times I am interrupted (because that is something I am trying to eliminate by conducting this research) by other students. My goal is to find out how to have self directed, engaging learning centers that align to the Content and Performance Standards for Alaska Students (State of Alaska, 2006).

I am anticipating having a few challenges. First, I know that I am going to be interrupted by my students as I am observing other students. I am concerned about the results of my observations and data. Second, I am concerned that the observation form will be too involved and time consuming and involved. I wonder if I will get the information I really want without getting bogged down in too many details. Third, I would like to videotape my students, but I know that they will be distracted by a video camera (and I don’t know where to get a video camera to use for my data collection). I am concerned if having an extra distraction is going to pull their attention and cause me to have more behavior issues. Finally, I am struggling a little with how to have my kindergarten students self assess their learning. I am planning on using a smiley, straight and frowning face picture, but I am apprehensive about how honest they will be when it comes time to fill out the form. I have found a lot of useful forms and ideas from the website Teachers Pay Teachers, so I looked for a centers self assessment and I found one, with pictures, for free that I can change to suit my needs (Teachers Pay Teachers – Ms. F, 2015).

Bibliography

Positive Environments, Network of Trainers. (1990). Functional Assessment Observation Form. Retrieved February 13, 2015, from Positive Environments, Network of Trainers: http://www.pent.ca.gov/frm/functobserv.pdf

State of Alaska. (2006, March). Alaska Standards. Retrieved February 19, 2015, from Alaska Department of Education & Early Development: http://education.alaska.gov/AKStandards/standards/standards.pdf

Teachers Pay Teachers – Ms. F. (2015). Centers Checklist. Retrieved February 20, 2015, from Teachers Pay Teachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Centers-Checklist-839029

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10 thoughts on “Week 6 – Essential Question – Data Collection

  1. It looks like you have thought about a lot of the potential concerns in your study. Is there a second adult who can step in while you are taking down observations? If so, that adult could address any behavioral or other needs while you are taking observations. If not, you might want to start practicing with your students that they can’t interrupt you for a certain number of minutes. If they know that their needs will be addressed shortly, maybe with a timer in place, I feel like they will interrupt you less.

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    • That is a really good idea. Part of my problem with learning centers is that my students are continuously interrupting me while I am working with other students. I am not sure if I should track that as well to see if there is a common theme to why they have questions.

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  2. Sounds like you’ve got a good plan for collecting data. I wonder if it would be worth conducting a quick 3-5 question interview with kids at the end of your data collection period? I completely understand the challenge of getting specific feedback from little ones, but a couple “nuggets of wisdom” coming directly from the mouth of your students could go a long way toward your understanding the perspective of your students as well as assisting in data analysis for this class. With well-crafted questions, they may be able to articulate what they prefer and why, which speaks directly to engagement and indirectly to problem behaviors that may arise. The interview could offer a third piece of data, which may be useful if you plan to triangulate data for analysis.
    Finally, on a different topic, when I used centers in third grade, my rule was students had to ask their questions to two classmates at their center before coming to ask me. This led to fewer questions and distractions for me as the teacher, while encouraging collaboration, social interaction, and peer-peer learning.
    I work with similar aged children right now, so I’m very curious to hear your results! Keep up the good work.

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  3. I am loving your plan! You have broken it down and make it so simple. I have been searching for “tools” for my classroom as well. Do you mind if I borrow? I would love to use those tools and adjust them for my classroom needs.

    In my room, I tell the students, “Three before me!” This reminds them that they can ask three friends for help before they come to me. It has worked for the most part. Many of them get their answers before coming to me for help.

    Another thought about self-assessment: What do you want them to assess? I have a letters and sounds chart with children’s names on it. Students have stickers that show if they know all of the letters and sounds. I also have a “100”s club. Children who can count to 100 by themselves are part of the 100s club. I also have a sight word list. Students who can read more than half of the words introduced so far this year, become part of that “club”. For writing, I have anchor papers that show what kindergarten writing should look like. I haven’t posted these yet, but plan on putting them out for students to look at so that they can see what they need to do to be ready for first grade. I got the anchor papers from http://www.dmatteson.com/. We use David Matteson materials to teach our students writing. In those materials are anchor papers, or examples of student work that children and/or teachers can refer to when needed to guide student writing.
    For handwriting, I ask the students if their handwriting looks like “preschool writing”, kindergarten writing, or teacher writing. You can maybe make a chart for them to look at that will help them assess their handwriting. Handwriting is such a struggle in my class, I may have to make a handwriting chart as well.

    Can’t wait to read how your data collection goes. I really was struggling at how to collect data, but you have inspired me and given me a clearer picture at what I should do. Keep it up!

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    • Thank you for the link! I will check it out! My students have their letters, sounds and counting down pretty well, but they struggle with writing. We use zoophonics for letter sounds and reading and they love it! My students struggle with following the “three before me” rule. I am not sure why it is such an issue. I think it might be an attention issue. If you get a chance, I would love to see some of your charts, so I can get some ideas for next year!

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  4. You have definitely put a lot of thought into your process. I think going with an observation from with that age group will work better than trying to get them to answer questions. You can always try, but having a back-up plan like you already have is a good plan.

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  5. I think your concerns are all legitimate and shows a lot of insight on your part. I, too, am concerned that I will be distracted by some students and miss recording the data correctly. This is challenging and I don’t have anyone else to help at the moment.

    I like the idea of the webcam running while they are using the computer. It’s a sneaky way to record them if you can pull it off.
    Sounds like you have a very interesting study. Good luck!

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  6. I do like the suggestions here about practicing with your students to not interrupt you during a certain time would be very helpful in this time period. I also agree that even though it may be hard, observation will be the best option with your age group of children.

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