Jiji the penguin is a celebrity in my class. He is the star of many stories at the writing center, often listed as something students are thankful for at Thanksgiving, and commonly discussed at lunch.
For those who don't know, Jiji is the penguin that leads students through the ST Math curriculum.
Over the years I have tried different systems for tracking data and encouraging students to take ownership of their ST Math growth. The most important part of all my systems has been a class data talk on Friday.
I have used ST Math with kindergarteners fir 4 years, and each class has learned to analyze their data and set goals to work towards.
Data talk always starts with looking at the overall class data. We look at the average class percentage and how many students have a problem. We talk about how our goal is to get to 100% by the end of the year so that we are ready for first grade.
Then we dive into the individual data. We celebrate success by announcing what percent in the curriculum each student is at. We move the students individual Jiji's on the wall tracker. One year I had an awesome Jiji where we wrote the students who had made the most growth that week.
Students are so proud to watch their Jiji's move up the tracker, closer to 100%. Some years I moved every Jiji every week, other years I moved it when they reached a new decade, both ways work!
Next, we would troubleshoot for students who were having problems beating their levels (evidenced by the circle next to their name, the bigger the circle the bigger the problem). We would discuss what the problem was:
We use the wall data tracker throughout the year. It is a simple way for me to easily keep track of where each student is in the process. The tracker invests students in their growth and encourages them to work harder. It also serves as a good talking point with families during conferences.
When a student reaches 100% of the curriculum they become a member of the exclusive, Jiji Club! This simply means that I take their picture and hang it in the hallway under a sign that says "Jiji Club!" but if you ask the students, it is a big deal! I then move them to the next grade level on ST Math. I love that students can be at very different points from their classmates. Some years I have students that finish the kindergarten and first grade curriculum and begin on the second grade curriculum! It is a great way to push students who have mastered grade level concepts.
Check out my editable data tracker. Type (or print and write) your students' names on the cards. Laminate for durability. Post the sign and percentage markers on a classroom wall. Using double stick or teacher tape place the students' cards on the tracker.
This tracker could work with many different ed-tech/blended learning programs!
I would love to see pictures of the tracker in your classroom! Please send them to me at email@example.com or on Instagram @oxboxteaching!
Long live Jiji!
I love puzzles! I do jigsaw puzzles with my family over the holidays. I always have at least one puzzle center in my center rotations. I love the logic puzzle app on my phone.
Puzzles are great for developing problem solving skills, fine motor skills including hand eye coordination, and even self-esteem!
While I love all puzzles, I sometimes worry that with some puzzles students may complete them incorrectly when they are working independently. There is no way for them to check if they matched the correct pieces. As a result, some students just stick any pieces together and call it a day.
BUT... a self-correcting puzzle solves this problem!!!
In a self-correcting puzzle only the correct pieces will forget together. For example, the apple will only fit with the piece that has letter "a" not with any other letter.
I talk to my students about checking their answers. Do the pieces fit? Great, you made the correct match! If not, you need to keep working- what went wrong? Try again to find the correct piece and ask a friend if you need more help. This encourages further problem solving and meta-cognition.
Self-correcting puzzles can also boost self-esteem! Make sure to celebrate your students' success with puzzles! I love to take pictures of them with the final product to post around the classroom and send home to their families. They are so proud to show off their hard work!
Check out some of my puzzles! There are puzzles aligned to Fundations Centers, Wit and Wisdom Centers, Eureka Math Centers, and any classroom centers! Click on the picture to go to that center. There are even more puzzles available in my store.
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Miriam taught kindergarten and first grade for 5+ years in New Orleans.