Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tech Tips Tuesday

This Week's Tip - Strengths Spreadsheets

I am in the process of conducting a study about enrichment at my school. We are due to write a school policy statement about how students are identified as being gifted and talented and how they are supported. We believe that all students have strengths that need to be identified and nourished.

For this phase of the study I have been focusing on the students in Year 4 to determine what students' strengths are and whether they are accessing the programs we currently run to develop their skills. The Strengths Analysis has been a very lengthy process and to manage all the data I created a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet has helped me to see the information and sort it in different ways. I can now identify students' areas of strength and see which programs they have accessed in the past year.

While I don't think that all teachers need to do such an in-depth analysis of their students, I DO think that teachers need to determine students' strengths early in the year. While we quickly notice the students who are performing below their peers and put actions in place to assist them, I don't know that we do as good a job on the top end.

It is important to determine students' areas of strength in order to provide them with experiences to extend them throughout the year. This can be done with a simple spreadsheet using data from the previous year:
  • Put your class list in the first column (with surname first to allow an easy sort by name)
  • Put students previous grades in additional columns under subject headings
  • Copy and past the data into additional sheets - one per subject
  • Select the data on each page (including names) and sort by grades in the subject
If you want to do a more detailed analysis, you could ask students to identify their areas of strength with a quick survey. You could also draw on results from state or national testing.

So then what? Firstly, keep this data in mind as you plan and teach - make sure that you are giving these students opportunities to develop their strengths and interests in class. Then, find out what enrichment/extension programs are available in your school to meet students' needs in these areas and recommend that your students join these programs. If there are no programs, bring it up in a staff meeting and see if anyone has any ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Students do not follow the teachers when they are fed up with over works.A healthy atmosphere for teaching is created when instructions are employed in the right manner.


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