I’ll admit, I was disappointed when I first read through this tool. I was hoping for some cut, dry, concrete lists of data to collect and how to collect them. Of course, I knew it couldn’t really be that easy. If it was, we’d all be using EBP and wouldn’t need two cool tools devoted to the topic!
Three things from the provided readings and tools stood out to me.
Stand Out #1: Jeri Hurd’s quote from the readings, “Basically you will need three types of information: Data, examples and stories”. This simple quote and the examples provided made me feel better, less stressed and overwhelmed by the idea of collecting data for EBP. Spreading EBP over three types of information means that I’m not relying on any one type of information to carry all the weight of proving my lessons have impact. Spreading it over three types of information also erased images of me constantly creating and checking pre/post assessments to get my data. It also made me feel like I’m already on my way to collecting data for my EDP because my lessons naturally have examples of student work and student stories (I just have to start collecting them on a regular basis and in a more organized fashion!). More than anything else I’ve read in these first two cool tools, this quote made me feel like I could actually do this EBP thing.
Stand Out #2: Ross Todd’s article, Irrefutable Evidence: How to Prove You Boost Student Achievement. I liked this article because it gave me plenty of doable ideas for collecting the third type of information I’ll need, data:
- Simple checklist strategies:Check students’ levels of information literacy skills, technical skills, knowledge, and attitudes before and after the library instruction.
This is such a quick and easy way to figure out what my students know, need to know, and learned. I wouldn’t necessarily have thought about using it for my own EBP though. Using it to drive my instruction and assess how it went, sure. But, after the lesson, I would either pass it along to the teachers with their monthly reports or recycle it. Not any more though, now I know how valuable it can be.
- Rubric strategies: Evaluate students based on a set of criteria that clearly defines the impact of your lessons.
Rubrics are everywhere online! I don’t even have to create my own every time-why haven’t I been using these more!!!! I’m currently using a K-2 opinion writing rubric I found online to grade 1st grade writing pieces for a project we’re doing in our elementary school libraries. Again, something I’m already doing that technically, is EBP and I didn’t know it. I’ll be sure to scan these into my Google Drive along with the writing pieces instead of just giving them to the teachers at the end of the project for their writing grades.
- Conferencing strategies: Devise activities where students can reflect on their work, their skills, and the benefits of the library instruction.
I’m taking a class on Explicit Direct Instruction right now and we just talked about the importance of giving students opportunities to self assess and reflect. During that night’s class, I realized I don’t build enough of these opportunities into my lessons. I’m still working on identifying some that will work for me and my classes but, I’m even more motivated to find some know that I realize that it could double as EBP data.
- Journaling strategies: Document your instruction and the outcome of your instruction.
When I first read journaling strategies, I thought this was going to be another way to have students reflect on their learning but this one is worded for me, the teacher to reflect. I’ve done some classes and research into becoming National Board Certified and self reflection is one of the pieces of the process. Again, I like the idea of incorporating this into my routine. It will help me prepare for that part of NBC and counts as part of my EBP data-score! Plus, reflection really does make you a better teacher. I make little notes in my planner after lessons sometimes but again, I could make an effort to do this with purpose and on a regular basis.
- Portfolio strategies : Gather samples of students’ work over a period of time and match them to your school’s curriculum goals and information-literacy requirements.
Stand Out #3: Lyn Hay’s & Ross Todd’s EBP Action Plan & Program Plan Templates. This was such a great thing to find! I personally love lists, charts, templates, planners etc. Nothing makes something feel instantly more doable and achievable to me like writing it down in some kind of organized fashion. One of the things I’m noticing in these two cool tools is that I already have some things in the works that could be turned into data for EBP. But, I need a plan to take them to that next level where they actually are part of my EBP. Sitting down with these templates could help me do just that. I like also like that you can plan out individual goals as well as quarterly goals for the school year.
I have a tendency to go big and get overwhelmed but I’m going to try to heed advice from one of the readings and “start small” with this one. Since I’m already in the middle of a project that is trying to assess the library’s ability to impact student writing, I’ll do a template for that to start. Filling out the template after the project is started isn’t ideal but, it might help me find some gaps/issues/weak spots/overlooked issues etc. The 5th grade classes always do an end of year research project so I think I’ll use the template to come up with an assessment plan for that project as well.
Overall, I feel so much better about EBP after doing these two cool tools. It doesn’t feel as daunting and overwhelming as it did when I first started reading about it. I’m hoping to gradually add this to my library life and turn it into a regular habit. After all this reading and reflecting, I really don’t have any excuses not to!