This is the latest in a series of blogs from the teacher cohort.
By Joseph Rosi
To say I’ve struggled to define what data fluency means to my students is an understatement. My classes - comprised of 5th graders - are just becoming actively involved in the world around them. Our general focus is acquiring writing skills, which tends to be a daunting (and boring) task for the average 10 year old.
Recently, I used a simple analogy to describe a reader's frustration with their essays. I asked the class, how many times have your parents answered a question with, “Because I said so!”
The entire class’ hands shot into the air so fast I thought a few were going to dislocate their arms. This was accompanied with a collective ‘groan’.
I responded, “That's what it’s like making an argument without data backing up your claim!”
They frequently pitch arguments without thinking about background information or a model to test their theories. Promoting numbers and narratives is an important cohort value I am trying to instill in our essay creation. We strive to identify explicit and implicit problems but require that students define an explanation and/or action plan to resolve their compositions.
As a result, students have begun to see that their actions and ideas have consequences. Here at BPSD, our mission begins with: To lead an educational partnership with the community. Ideally these text dependent analysis skills I am teaching our students will translate into larger discussions about their world. And, with luck, a process to allow students to engage our community by being advocates for positive change.
Because I said so.