Facilitating a Virtual Data Discussion

Data is not often a word that excites a lot of people. Because of that that, when my colleagues and I started planning a PD centered around digging into and debriefing AP data, I knew we needed to think creatively about structuring and facilitating the time. We needed to find ways to make the discussion meaningful and relevant, celebrate successes, and also help teachers uncover actionable steps in further improving student achievement. Keeping these needs in mind, we developed a process that merged together three protocols (“Notice and Wonder,” “Fishbone,” and “What-So What-Now What”) and led to a rich discussion through a collaborative, virtual structure using Zoom and Jamboard.

*Below was the flow of our process and to keep the data personal to our district, the thumbnail images are intentionally small. If you would like a copy of the Jamboard template or are interested in more about process, feel free to contact me.*

SEL Welcoming Activity

Before we jumped into the data, I felt it was important to create a safe space with an SEL welcoming activity. I created this prompt, inspired by rare Texas snowfall this past weekend, that had teachers align themselves in terms of the snowman image. Celebrating positive moments, acknowledging hardships, and discussing strategies to move closer to the snowman on the right was a great way to build SEL Competencies of relationship skills and self-awareness. *Two other check-ins I’ve turned virtual that I love using are Charged and Rose and a Thorn.*

Notice and Wonder with 2018-2020 Data

After the check-in, the first data we gave teachers was a general trending view of total students, 1-5 scores, and mean scores from 2018, 2019, and 2020. As teachers looked at this, we asked them to “notice and wonder” (one of my favorite classroom strategies) and type their ideas on the Jamboard sticky notes. We discussed the patterns we saw in score results, student enrollment, and the various test structure to get an overall picture before getting more specific. I loved this strategy as a quick brainstorm that produced a lot of deep thinking.

What-So What with 2019 Data

One thing teachers discussed in the “notice and wonder” was the fact that last year’s AP exam in 2020 was very different in its structure and setting, and it was greatly affected by distance learning. We anticipated those comments, so uncovering this with teachers led us seamlessly into our next part of analyzing 2019 topical data with Instructional Planning Reports. As teachers looked at this data, we had them jot down on the next slide of the Jamboard specific patterns, strengths, and challenges they noticed. Here, we were able to highlight successes and pinpoint a challenge for our final discussion using a Fishbone diagram.

Fishbone Diagram with a 2019 Challenge

I learned about the Fishbone Diagram from Steve Ventura who presented it as a way for teacher teams to “tackle a problem and identify all of the reasons that caused that problem before looking for a solution.” In this protocol, after discussing reasons for the problem, teachers circled the causes they have control over to then move forward with next steps. With our distance learning barriers, it can be so easy to dwell on struggles and hinderances. So, using this protocol was powerful in that it provided a safe, structured space for teachers to write and say those challenges, but then focus only on what we have control over in influencing student achievement. After circling those factors, teachers naturally discussed their last “Now What” steps, generating authentic, concrete, and collaborative ideas for moving forward.

I am so thankful to these teachers for the rich discussion and am excited that this opened doors for continued conversations. I look forward to seeing these next steps unfold and developing our future PDs leading up to the AP.

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