I've never really kept a data wall before. My old school didn't do them when I was there, and then last year at the new school I just was clueless. But I told myself this year I'd actually do it- but I worry sometimes about how to keep it accurate and respect every one's privacy at the same time. I don't want any of my kids to be embarrassed by their data.
This is how I ended up doing my reading data:
The blue area is what is considered on grade level at the beginning of second grade, and the green area for the end of second grade. The X's are each kid in my class, plotted by their DRA level. So the concentration is not on WHO but WHERE we are. No one has asked which X is theirs yet either. In general, I think they know, because we talk about what level we are reading in group, and how we are making progress forward. So nobody feels like they are stuck anywhere. It was nice too that in a month we were able to push everybody up one, so I could cancel out one of the boxes with the yellow. The kids felt proud of themselves for marching the X's along.
At our school, we have a motto, "We are response-able to to the success of the group." We talk about how we all work hard at becoming better readers to do our part in making our progress chart march forward. It doesn't matter where we started, as long as we get somewhere at the end.
I showed our goal at the bottom, what our chart will look like in June if everyone improves by a year from where they are now. Personally, I would like all of the X's to get past the green. I struggle with whether or not is it fair to set a goal for a child below grade level to advance more than a year's worth by June. I mean, some kids do, that magic reading light bulb turns on and they go like gang busters. But some kids, this isn't the light bulb year. So what to do?
We discuss our progress charts during class meetings, and one little boy asked "Can we move our X farther ahead than just one year? Can I take my X off the chart?" And yeah, I got nervous- because I didn't want to say to them "some of you can, but some of you can't". I was afraid for a moment, that if I told him yes, and he didn't progress very far, then what? But then I thought, if I say no, why should he try? And then I noticed a lot of WIIIIIIIDE eyes, and a little bit of leaning forward, and I could see it- their desire to achieve higher than what I had suggested was the "norm". So I just said "Yes. As long as you keep trying to become a better reader, then your X will move. And I will never stop your X. If you make me need to make a bigger chart, I will make it." Grins all around.
Do all of them try hard all the time? Um, no. They are eight, after all. But for some, the chart provides intrinsic motivation. That little boy goes back every once in awhile and taps his X. I've even seen him drag his finger to the goal line and tap the X all the way at the end. I think he's decided that one is going to be his. And I know it will be, he'll decide when. So I won't worry.