Helping learners set and track attainable goals
Lindsey Speck is a second grade teacher at Columbian Elementary using co-created data binders to help students take control of the course of their learning. In these binders, students demonstrate their progress over the semester and monitor this progress to set new goals.
Lindsey meets monthly with each student to talk about current and future goals. She hopes these conversations will help her students acquire life skills necessary to help plan for and reach their future aspirations.
"This year my goal is that students are more prepared to independently problem solve, so they feel confident in identifying a problem and creating a plan to solve it."
Lindsey has been working on helping students track their progress on tests and quizzes and set goals. She meets individually with students to talk about their goals and also sets aside time during class for students to work on their goals. The students are provided with lanyards with their goals attached to use as a reminder throughout work time.
Lindsey has worked with students to create data binders that contain assignments and data tracking sheets. Students helped to create the binders and are part of the process of updating them by physically adding their data by putting assignments into the binders and tracking their progress on charts.
Each month, Lindsey meets with every student individually to discuss their data. Using the data binder, she and her students track the student’s latest scores, talk about progress, identify strengths and weaknesses, and set an attainable goal for the next month.
Lindsey says her students have gotten better at setting goals and monitoring progress. So far they know the language required to discuss their data, but they are working on becoming more fluent in the processes. Lindsey wants to see her students learn these skills to prepare them for success in life.
Teachers need to devote time to regular meetings with individual students. Teachers also need to carve time out during the day to allow students to work independently toward their goals.
Innovation Partner Elisa Bowers helped Lindsey work towards increasing learner agency by using data binders. So far she has noticed higher levels of student engagement and happiness, noting that students seem to enjoy being able to work with their friends and move around the classroom. Elisa notes that Lindsey is willing to try new things and is thoughtful about how she plans and implements new ideas. Elisa reflected that visiting the classroom of another teacher who is implementing personalized learning was very helpful for Lindsey, as this allowed her to ask questions and gain a clearer idea of strategies to use. From here, Elisa hopes to see Lindsey provide students with more autonomy by continuing to build structures that allow for this in the classroom.
“At the beginning there has to be a certain amount of structure for kids to really understand what is being expected of them. Lindsey has done a great job of doing that and then thinking about the steps that her learners can take after that.”
Columbian Elementary teachers Lindsey Speck and Leonardo Andrade, principal Jeni Rouse, Imaginiarium staff Elisa Bowers, Amy Burns, Sophie Gullett, Signe Hawley and the 2nd graders who are reaching for the stars.
A huge thank you to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation whose Next Generation Systems Intiative (NGSI) grant has been instrumental in helping Denver Public Schools design, study and scale personalized learning.