If your campus is anything like mine, then every meeting you walk into is about data, and if you have concerns about a student, then you better be tracking behavior data to back it up.
With academic concerns, it is relatively easy. Bring in the benchmark assessment scores, and you've got your data.
Tracking behavior is a beast all on its own because it requires additional work to collect students' comportment data…and the biggest complaint is it takes time away from instruction.
The most important classroom management technique that teachers need to implement is the effort to track it, especially when it concerns very specific students.
Inside this blog post, I share three tips to help you track it and make it manageable for yourself, because I know how cumbersome classroom management can be already!
3 Teacher-friendly Tips to Tracking Behavior Data for RTI
Keep Your Tracking Behavior System Simple
My favorite easy way of tracking behavior data is paperclips.
If there is a student who is consistently doing that one behavior that makes it impossible to teach, then put a handful of paperclips in your left pocket.
Every time s/he does the behavior, switch one paperclip to the right pocket. Count them at lunch and record. Repeat in the afternoon. Easy, right? Plus you don't have to stop what you are doing to fill out any data tracker.
Be Honest If Tracking Behavior Is Overwhelming You
When I worked as an educational consultant, I cannot tell you how many times people would agree to a plan that we had developed with a team but did not follow through.
Having built a good rapport with many of them, I would always ask why they didn't follow through.
Nine times out of ten it was because it seemed like so much work, but they were afraid to say something during the initial planning with the support team.
They would much rather hear that you aren't sure that you can keep up with the tracking and need help (or to revise the plan…maybe using the easy idea above) than to come back three weeks later and discover you haven't collected a bit of data.
Plus, it makes you look better and more willing to adjust, too! That, in turn, will make them more eager to help you out…you get more flies with sugar, right?
Just Do It!
I know it sucks to have to spend the extra time and energy tracking behavior data for that one kid, but if he (or she) is really THAT severe, then you need to do it, because that is the only way they (and you) are going to get the support needed.
Yes, it is a bummer to have to spend the class time recording how long she throws herself on the floor and cries when you really want to be checking in with small groups.
Just remember to think about how this is going to help you, and if you put the time into data tracking now, then you will have more support and be able to better help ALL your students sooner rather than later!
Have another easy way to track behavioral data? Leave a comment so we can all make this step less cumbersome.