If you know me, you know that I preach and embrace the principle that teaching, learning, most of life for that matter, is messy. As I think to construct this piece, I’m scratching away in a notebook that contains tidbits from countless meetings, reading and assessment notes, and I’m pretty sure at least one or two grocery lists.
As a whole, what I notice and keep in my notebook is messy, much like the information we keep about our students: classroom observations, formative/summative assessment information, and even notes on their personal interests. We make it our jobs to use those first six weeks of school to know as much as we can about our students. This initial data collection can be very messy – even for those incredibly organized colleagues, whom I envy.