Student Data Folders

First of all, it has been a long time since I've blogged. This year has been busy and crazy, but I'm hoping to check in a little more this second half of the year. ;)

Second - I can't believe I haven't blogged about data folders yet! I really thought I already had. This was quite the project I worked on this summer, and I wasn't quite sure how they would really work in the classroom. BUT, now that I've been using them for an entire semester, I love them!! Please read on if you are interested in having your students track their own data...weekly...and INDEPENDENTLY!! Yes, you read that right! ;)

At the beginning of last year, I was trying to find a way for my students to track their own data. I had a really hard time finding something that was kid-friendly enough for my second graders. Everything seemed to be geared towards the upper grades. Eventually, I convinced myself that my brand new second graders could track their data by each Common Core standard (and that I had the time and patience to manage that), and bought a shiny new pack on TPT and created beautiful Data Folders for each student. I'll tell you that we did open them. Once. *ONCE!* ((As a side-note, the pack I bought was ah-mazing, it was just not appropriate for my second graders. :) ))

 Tracking student data has huge benefits -- most of all being that students really begin to take ownership for their learning, they're self-motivated to do well, and as a bonus, they will be graphing EXPERTS by the end of the year!!

*The Set-Up*

In my class, each of the folder has three main subjects: Reading, Math & Reflections. Reading can include writing, grammar, vocabulary, and more. (We don't take true Science & SS grades, so I left those out. However, there are lots of printing and editing options with this so you can customize as much as your little heart desires!) I use the little post-it tabs to make it quick and easy for students to get where they need to go!

In the past, I have stored their data folders in a hanging file crate. I didn't want the folders to get crammed inside of their desks, or to be inaccessible to them. They also look nice in a cute basket at the front of your classroom. This method has really worked out perfectly for us. 

 *How We Use Them*

At the beginning of the year, we did a lot of practicing during whole-group. We practiced how to graph, and how to find the appropriate page to graph on. The practice paid off, because now my sweet kiddos can do this completely on their own.

On Fridays, I will pass out all of their graded tests, quizzes and assignments to them. I will list the titles and dates for them on the board, and they flip right to the correct page to graph their scores. I flip-flop between doing this during whole-group and small-group (to be honest, it depends on how much time we have! Fridays are always a little hectic.). I walk around my classroom and hear things such as
"I'm improving! My scores are going up!" 
"I'm really going to work harder on my spelling next week."
"Great job, Alan!! You worked so hard in math!"!! They really do get it, and it has motivated many of them more than I could have thought!

After they're done graphing, they turn right to the "Reflections" section, my favorite part! Each Friday, they think through and write down 2 things they did great at that week, as well as 1 thing they want to improve on next week. It really is fun to see what they come up with. This part took the most practice at the beginning -- I had a lot of kiddos who wanted to write that they did great at reading and math each week. We really practiced being specific and picking out moments they were really proud of that week.

 *This was from my line leader of the previous week, who was having trouble stopping at the correct stopping points in the hall. ;) It's so cute the things they pick out!

Then, that's it! They're done for the week. My students do actually use their data folders on a daily basis as well. As they take AR tests, they log them in their data folders. It's very motivating for them to fill up their reading logs, they are always so proud of how many books they've read!

*Are Data Folders Right for You?!   Grab yours here!!

There's definitely no wrong time to start data folders! Several of my teammates are just beginning them this semester. I created this pack to be completely EDITABLE so that teachers can tweak it to fit their needs. You'll find dozens of editable pages so that you can create the perfect data folders for your class!!! 

If you do use data folders - What do you use? How do you use them?! I'd love to hear! :)

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  1. I love your Data Folders! We have notebooks that are very similar! But I LOVE your reflection sheet! I'm going to have to try something like that!!

    A Tall Drink of Water

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog and this post! LOVE this!!! I am going to implement these next year!!! Thank you for all of your thoughtful ideas and reflection! :)
    P.S. Your room is AH.Mazing! I am going to blog this summer/early September about my whole room transformation since I am moving into the old computer lab....YIKES!!! :)
    P.P.S. I love your blog design and just emailed A Bird in the Hand for my new design!! :)

  3. I love this idea, and I want to implement data folders next year, however, I struggle with just beginning. What suggestions do you have for implementation in a 3rd grade science & social studies classroom?
    PS. I teach my homeroom and 2 other classes.