Wednesday, March 10, 2010

That's a Lotta Data for an English Teacher...


I crunch a lot of numbers in my job. For the last five years, I've only taught English classes at the high school part time; the other half of my job is to be a "literacy coach" and go around and help all the other teachers (science, social studies, health, etc,) include more reading and writing in their teaching.

I do trainings on reading strategies and trainings on writing strategies. I meet with teachers individually. I help co-teach lessons to demonstrate strategies. I give feedback to teachers. I develop teaching ideas for them. And to demonstrate that what I do is in some way effective, I track data.

Reading test scores.
Writing test scores.
Percentages of improvement in the scores.
Improvement from last year to this year (two different groups of kids).
Improvement from 8th grade to 10th grade (same kids).
How many teachers have tried a strategy.
Etc, etc, etc.

I like all the parts of my job, including the number-crunching. Even though I don't teach math, I'm not allergic to numbers, and it's kind of fun to track trends and try to figure out what is working (or not working) and why.

Earlier this month we celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2. This is a pretty common activity in schools, but usually it's at elementary schools, and it's called "Read Across America."

We decided to give it a try...what if 2000+ kids read for just 12 minutes in each of their 5 classes on one day? That would be 2000 hours of reading all in one day! We did some publicity and the school library had more kids come in to check out books, and we did it! We called it "Read Across OCHS."

I surveyed the teachers about Read Across OCHS on Friday, and just compiled the survey results this afternoon. We have around 100 teachers, and 55 of them responded to the survey. Of the 55, only 2 said they didn't want to do it again. From those 55 teachers, I was able to tabulate a little over 1500 hours of reading, so I feel confident that we reached our goal of 2000+ hours of reading in one day.

I was working with a couple of other English teachers to do the last of the number-crunching at the end of the day, and another teacher walked by us and commented, "That's a lotta data for some English teachers..."

5 comments:

Polly said...

Yes, number tracking is fun...but then I'm a math teacher. Just to compare numbers...Granger High has 24 teachers, including the music teacher who is split with the middle school. I bet your reading scores are better though.

Kathy Haynie said...

87% of our sophomores passed the state reading test last year - we were one of the top schools in the state, which was pretty exciting to me as the literacy coach. Mostly it was gratifying to know that most of our kids can read pretty well, for their classes and their LIVES.

Hillary said...

Ha! You sound more like an "everything" teacher than an English teacher! I didn't know you did all that other stuff Kathy! That's really cool. We read for 12 minutes every day at my high school. It was our "reading period." I loved it. Although, many of the more crazy kids just pretended to be reading. Silly highschoolers.

Dorothy said...

I wish there was built in reading times when I was going to High School! What an excellent idea, and a great one to get kids into the library to see what's there. I'll bet the numbers will go up every year that this program runs :)

my name is lauren. said...

happy birthday dr. seuss!

and i officially don't think i could do your job. i'm awful at math! always have been. i'm getting my future children a math tutor on reserve for their high school years, because i DEFINITELY won't be any help!