TeachCycle Mindset — Measure Progress!

Welcome back to the Master Teacher blog series, a collection of posts written by Master Teachers and organized around the key mindsets of TeachCycle, BetterLesson’s innovative professional development offering.

In the last three weeks, we’ve heard from a range of Master Teachers from across both the country and content areas, all of whom provided insight and advice to ensuring that teaching remains “All About the Kids.” Topics ranged from the need to teach the whole child, to tips for engaging reluctant readers. We learned ideas for raising the rigor in daily lessons, teaching high-level science content to ELL students, and differentiating instruction in high school science.

Now we move to topics related to the second key mindset of TeachCycle: Measure Progress.

The TeachCycle process is built on the idea that the best way to accomplish a big task is to break it into smaller pieces. In this way, teachers identify a gap in their students’ achievement, then break it down into smaller, more manageable little challenges. They then try new teaching strategies targeted at making progress in these small challenge areas. Rather than wait until end of year assessments to determine a strategy’s efficacy, teachers use fast and simple metrics to measure progress in the moment, and then iterate on the process until they reach their goal.

We call this process Teach-Measure-Learn, or TML for short.

The success of TML relies on an accurate measurement of student progress. It’s this measurement that drives the teacher’s own learning process and also their decision about how to proceed. Our coaches find that it’s common for teachers to be wary of data, given the veritable ocean of data available from state and district testing. In TeachCycle, however, our coaches help teachers focus on small data that can be collected quickly and easily, without the need for spreadsheets or scatterplots.

If you’re a teacher who is not yet using small data, our next two blog posts may convince you that measuring progress in your classroom is as easy as it is essential. Although these two teachers operate on opposite ends of the K-12 spectrum, both use data daily to monitor their students’ understanding, identify misconceptions, and tailor their instruction to meet the needs of all their kids.

So as you read their blogs, think about how you could use small data in your own class. If you’re not sure where to start, read how TeachCycle uses small data. If you’d like more information about TeachCycle’s TML process, please click here to request a demo.