Saturday, December 26, 2015

It's Probably Worth It

I've never been one to lie, so I won't start now...the multi-age class, personalized learning... it's all been tricky at times, tons of work, and exhausting to say the least.  There are times when you want to throw in the towel and revert back to "old ways" because it would seem simpler, and easier for you to manage.  You get tired of always needing to defend what you're doing in your classroom to friends, family members, substitute teachers, and even strangers.  Strangers who have absolutely no experience in education, but for some reason think it necessary to give you advice, but you forget that you have the expertise and suddenly start to question it yourself.  Are they right?  Should I try something else?  Is this really working?  If this happens to you, please, SLAM ON THE BRAKES!  Take a minute or two, run some data, do some self-reflection, and you will see amazing things.  This very thing happened to me very recently.  I love what I do...I love the people I get to do it with....but I felt unsure.  So I stopped, did some self-reflection, and ran some data.  O.M.G!  This data blew my mind!  Are you ready for it?  For the sake of keeping things super simple, I'm going to focus on Kindergarten.  The only real reason is because then I am comparing apples to apples since that's what I have taught the past few years.  First grade data will come later on :)  This is preliminary data, so I will be sure to share the final results as we get closer to the end of the trimester, but here's some positivity for you to draw on: 

By the end of the Kindergarten year, we aim to have all Kinders reading at least 20 sight words from the first 100 Fry Words.
2 years ago, I taught traditionally.  By the end of trimester 2 (beginning on March), 28% of my K class was reading 20 or more sight words.
Last year, I implemented Personalized Learning and by the end of trimester 2 (beginning of March), 47% of my learners were reading 20 or more sight words!  **Holy cow!  This alone is AMAZING!!
This year, I'm teaching in a co-taught, multi-age, personalized learning classroom.  As of RIGHT NOW....December 26.....62% of our Kinders are reading 20 or more sight words!  

So, that's amazing, right?  Like, holy buckets kind of amazing.  Jump up and down, screaming from the roof-tops kind of amazing!  It's small data, but it's more than enough to re-energize my co-teacher and I.  It hasn't been easy, but it's been worth it!  The learners are making huge gains, they are confident, independent, loving school, and stepping up.  What more could we hope for going into the new year?  Bring it on 2016!  Team R.I.S.E is ready!