This is the latest in a series of blogs from the teacher cohort.
By Beth Zboran
It’s the accumulation of the little things that produce big changes.
About a year ago I decided I needed to lose weight. I’ve had this goal before and just like everyone else, I was looking for that one big magic secret. So many products are available that lure in customers with the illusion of big change in body composition without making any changes in their life at all! I probably don’t have to tell you, it just doesn’t work that way. What I found is that a continued commitment to making small changes in everyday life such as eating one less cookie, adding one more carrot and walking once more around the block, is what is needed. The end result, so far, is a loss of 25 pounds from my body! So, why am I telling you this when I’m writing about data fluency? Along with extra carrots and less cookies, I learned that big results come from an accumulation of small changes. What is true for our bodies, is also true for our classrooms.
When I started with the fluency team, I wasn’t even sure what fluency was. I have to admit sometimes I’m still not sure. But I do know that I set goals to require my students to think about bigger issues, think independently, ask questions, present their ideas and attempt to find issues that matter to them. I made small changes in my classroom, we discussed current events, we looked at global issues, and we created websites about controversial topics. All of these small changes started to produce big results in myself and my students. Now, almost every activity in my classroom, I filter through the inquiry, case making, and advocacy model. My students are more apt to discuss current issues with me and each other and more willing to problem solve instead of immediately ask for help. I hope to see these students mature. I can only hope fluency made a lasting impression as they head out the door to follow a different schedule for the second semester. For myself, I hope to continue to develop in data fluency and continue to make small changes that are integrated into my teaching and my life.