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Using Data to Plan Instruction:. Making the Pieces Fit Together. Cathy Wishart Literacy Coach. Arrival Activity: Thinking About Individualizing. How would you complete each of these sentences? ADD IDEAS TO THE CHARTS POSTED ON THE WALL.

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using data to plan instruction

Using Data to Plan Instruction:

Making the Pieces Fit Together

Cathy Wishart

Literacy Coach

arrival activity thinking about individualizing
Arrival Activity: Thinking About Individualizing
  • How would you complete each of these sentences? ADD IDEAS TO THE CHARTS POSTED ON THE WALL.
  • To me, individualizing means __________________________________.
  • In my classroom, one way I individualize is to _______________________________________.

Data data everywhereSo much it's hard to think.Data data everywhereIf only it would link.

James Turner, Educator

the math problem analogy
The Math Problem Analogy
  • A man has to be at work by 9:00 a.m. It takes him 15 minutes to get dressed in a suit and tie, 20 minutes to eat and 35 minutes to walk to work in his Reeboks. He likes to eat Raisin Bran for breakfast. His friend at work, Jeanette, is usually late for work each day. What time should he get up?
what is data
What is Data?

According to, data means:

Factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions.

This definition goes beyond test scores and numerical values. It encompasses factual, objective information about the child.

why bother with data
Why Bother With Data?
  • Data leads to a teacher being able to:
    • Reflect on own practices
    • Generate new strategies to reach students
    • Make practical educational decisions
    • Meet the needs of individual student’s learning styles
    • Determine and reevaluate previous decisions for effectiveness
    • Ultimately, be a more engaged, effective, productive, confident, and happy educator

Gall, Joyce P. and M.D., Borg, Walter R. Applying Educational Research: A Practical Guide. NY: Longman, 1999.

using data to plan curriculum meet individual children s needs
Using Data to Plan Curriculum & Meet Individual Children’s Needs
  • Data is only meaningful when it is linked to decisions about teaching.
  • Data is used to make decisions about individuals.
    • Observe, reflect, and respond:
      • Jasmine brings you a book and pointing to the cover, says “what does that say?”
      • You think: she’s aware that print carries a message and notices print in the environment.
      • You respond: I’ll call attention to how I read from top to bottom and left to right when I read with her next time.
how do i use what i just learned
How Do I Use What I Just Learned?
  • What is the student’s current level?
  • What is the student ready for next?
  • How can I support this?
  • Will I design an activity, have an interaction, offer a material, adapt the environment?
  • Data is used to make decisions about groups of students.
  • Planning is essential!
from where do i get the data
From Where Do I Get the Data?
  • Informal Assessments
    • Teacher observations, conversations
    • Anecdotal records, portfolios
  • Formal Standardized Testing
    • Terra Nova results from last year, Screening Assessment
  • Formal Classroom Testing
    • Reading program generated tests
    • Teacher-generated tests
    • Running Records
  • Formal and Informal Student Surveys
    • Student Interest Surveys
    • Classroom discussions
    • Learning Profiles
    • Teacher-child interviews
okay now what
Okay, Now What?

Looking at the data helps the teacher with…

Small Group Instruction

  • Determining groups
  • Determining needs
  • Determining interests
  • Determining support
what is small group instruction
What is Small Group Instruction?

Small group instruction is when a teacher works with a group of students (two to six) to accomplish a given task.

(Opitz & Ford, 2001)

what are the benefits of small group instruction
What Are The Benefits of Small Group Instruction?
  • Teachers are better able to observe, monitor, and attend to the needs of readers
  • Students are more comfortable taking learning risks in a small group
  • Students are afforded more opportunities to interact with one another
  • Instruction can be targeted and focused to meet the needs of the group members

(Strickland, Ganske, & Monroe, 2002)

some types of effective small group lessons
Some Types of Effective Small Group Lessons
  • Demonstration
  • Intervention
  • Shared Response
  • Combination

(Opitz & Ford, 2001)

a demonstration lesson
A Demonstration Lesson
  • In a demonstration lesson, the teacher models using a specificskill, strategy, or learning behavior in an observable way.
    • If a teacher is modeling making text-to-self connections, the teacher “thinks aloud.”
    • If a teacher is modeling re-reading for a clearer understanding, the teacher says aloud what is confusing, re-reads, finds additional information, and then continues to read.
an intervention lesson
An Intervention Lesson
  • An intervention lesson is designed to address a specific need that has become evident from watching and listening to children as they read and write.
    • Children with similar needs are grouped together to make efficient use of instructional time.
    • To assist the students to move from where they are to where they need to be, the teacher focuses less on modeling and more on scaffolding instruction.

(Opitz & Ford, 2001)

a shared response lesson
A Shared Response Lesson
  • A shared response lesson is designed to enable children, regardless of perceived reading level, to share what they are reading with others.
    • The primary purpose for this type of lesson is to enable children to learn from one another through meaningful, focused discussion.
    • To maximize its potential as a learning experience, this discussion is often provided a structure by the teacher.

(Opitz & Ford, 2001)

a combination lesson
A Combination Lesson
  • A combination lesson is one in which any combination of the first three experiences are used. How to best help children understand a given aspect of reading is what guides the combination.

(Opitz & Ford, 2001)

types of data

Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement by Clay

Fox in a Box

Terra Nova Results

Running Records


Anecdotal notes

Teacher observation

Student Interviews

Attitude Surveys

Interest Inventories

Types of Data
using data to assign flexible groups
Using Data to Assign Flexible Groups
  • Achievement

Use performance on a reading measure. Students with similar scores are placed in the same group.

  • Mixed Achievement

Students with various scores are placed in the same group.

  • Interest

This group is based on interest inventories, student interviews, or attitude surveys. Assign students to a group based on interest or topic.

  • Skill or Instructional Need

Students lacking in a skill or strategy are grouped together.

a kindergarten scenario
A Kindergarten Scenario
  • While the students are in centers, Ms. Smith takes an anecdotal record on William. She notices that William is recognizing the names of some upper and lower case letters and can locate his own name. As she continues to observe, she also notes that William often incorrectly names letters that are easily reversed. She decides to have a skill group of four students meet so she can review the letters b, d, and p.
  • What type of assessment was used?
  • What was the purpose?
  • What grouping technique did she use?


Demonstration & Intervention

Skill or Instructional Need

another kindergarten scenario
Another Kindergarten Scenario

While administering the district screening assessment, Ms. Cappello notices that four of her kindergarten students scored below the benchmark for identifying rhyming words. She decides to bring this group together to play several rhyming games. She thinks out loud for the students, and then encourages them to match pictures of rhyming words.

  • What type of assessment was used?
  • What was the purpose?
  • What grouping technique did she use?


Demonstration & Intervention

Skill or Instructional Need

a 1st grade scenario
A 1st Grade Scenario

In September, Mr. Jones uses the big book Mr. Grump during a shared reading experience conducted with the whole class. During this time, he notices that some readers seem to need additional instruction to strengthen their concepts about print, especially directionality and voice-print match. He decides to group these students together to provide this instruction.

  • What type of assessment was used?
  • What was the purpose?
  • What grouping technique did he use?


Demonstration & Intervention

Skill or Instructional Need

another 1 st grade scenario
Another 1st Grade Scenario

Running records have enabled Mrs. Harris to see that her twenty-two first graders have diverse literacy needs. Six of the students read at the same level. She pulls the group together and selects six copies of a book that is at their instructional reading level as determined by the running records. She facilitates a discussion of the book’s main character.

  • What type of assessment was used?
  • What was the purpose?
  • What grouping technique did she use?


Shared Response


a 2 nd grade scenario
A 2nd Grade Scenario

Mr. Doman has taken a close look at the students’ ability to activate background knowledge and monitor comprehension. He observes that they all have a pretty good handle on this, but he wants to introduce a new strategy. He models the strategy for a group of mixed ability students who have indicated an interest in sea-life. He chooses a non-fiction text on sharks. He then asks the students to choose a book from a stack of multi-leveled books on sea-life. The students are then given time to apply the new strategy and read their books. He includes the two students who are in another group and reading at the lowest level in the class. Mr. Doman assists as needed.

  • What type of assessment was used?
  • What was the purpose?
  • What grouping strategy did he use?



Interest & Mixed Achievement

a 3 rd grade scenario
A 3rd Grade Scenario

When Mrs. Anderson was working with her class on the story, “The Olympic Games: Where Heroes are Made,” she noticed some interesting behaviors by four of her students. While most of the class was able to find facts presented in the story, Javier, Julie, Drew, and Robin had difficulty finding facts they were asked to locate. For example, when Mrs. Anderson asked the class how many countries competed in the first modern Olympics, hands flew up, but Javier, Julie, Drew, and Robin kept flipping pages without finding the information. Mrs. Anderson has decided to take these students as a group and model how to locate information in a factual textbook format.

  • What type of assessment was used?
  • What was the purpose?
  • What grouping strategy did he use?


Demonstration & Intervention


a 4 th grade scenario
A 4th Grade Scenario

When reading “Saguaro Cactus,” Mrs. Phillips noticed that Mary read the word “spiny” as “spinny.” When Mrs. Phillips asked what the word meant, Mary explained that it was when things spin really fast. Other students looked confused at Mary’s answer, but Joey and Adele shook their heads in agreement. Mrs. Phillips decided to review all of the vocabulary words for this story with this group. She made a game to help the students review the words, their pronunciation, and their meanings.

  • What type of assessment was used?
  • What was the purpose?
  • What grouping strategy did he use?




how can we group these children for small group instruction
How Can We Group These Children for Small Group Instruction?

Try to form five different groups of at least

two to six children.

  • What assessment is informing your decision?

(Formal, Informal)

  • What is the purpose of the group?

(Demonstration, Intervention, Shared Response, Combination)

  • How are you assigning students to each group?

(Achievement, Mixed Achievement, Skill or Instructional Need, Interest)

  • Dobson, Treneire & Moorman, Emily. “Small Group Instruction Power Point.” NJ DOE, 2006.
  • ELAS Power Point. NJ DOE, 2005.
  • Fry, Edward, Ph.D. Informal Reading Assessments K-8. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Materials, 2002.
  • Gall, Joyce P. and M.D., Borg, Walter R. Applying Educational Research: A Practical Guide. NY: Longman, 1999.
  • Gould, Judith S. and Burke, Mary F. Creating & Managing a Writing Workshop. Carthage, IL: Teaching & Learning Co., 2005.
  • Opitz, M.F., & Ford, M.P. Reading Readers: Flexible & Innovative Strategies for Guided Reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2001.
  • Strickland, D.S., Ganske, K., & Monroe, J.K. Supporting Struggling Readers and Writers: Strategies for Classroom Intervention 3-6. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2002.
  • Wishart, Catherine. “Using Data to Drive Instruction.” Easy Literacy., 2009.