Utilizing Student Survey Results

 Image by: S. Miles

I’m currently preparing for next school year.   Part of my preparation includes the creation of a student survey.  After reading a post from @TerryFErickson I decided to create a survey (similar to this) for my current students.

I’m planning on using the survey data to make changes for next school year.   I’ve always valued student feedback via plus/delta charts, but this survey is intended to be utilized for next school year.   In order to best meet the needs of my students next year, I wanted to give my current students an opportunity to express their opinions regarding motivation.  I believe that motivation is often affected by the classroom climate.  The process I used for this survey activity is below.

1.)  Students complete the survey.  Here is the beginning of the survey:

2.)  After students complete the survey, I complied the results and displayed the data from different classes. (Click to enlarge)

3.) The class reviewed the data.

Based on this survey, the top three things that motivate my students are:

  • The teacher shows she/he cares about you and the other students in the class
  • The teacher shows that she/he really loves to teach and learn
  • The teacher uses technology when teaching

This activity took two class sessions to complete.  After a rich classroom discussion about the data, students concluded that the main factor that helps motivate them to learn is the teacher.

Creating Classroom Rules

 Image by Federico Stevanin

It’s only been three days since school has started and so much has already taken place.  In reality, it  feels like three non-stop days of meetings and teaching.  Many teachers are recharging this weekend to begin again on Monday.  After reflecting on the last few days of school, I’m now starting to plan specific learning opportunities for next week.

Many community building activities were emphasized this past week.  My class created classroom rules during the first day of school.  This year I created the rules with my class and they are now posted on a bulletin board.  Most research that I’ve read indicates that when students are part of the creation of the rules, they are more willing to take ownership and model the rules in the classroom throughout the school year.

Here’s the rule creation process that I used this year:

  • Each student is given one Post-it note
  • The students are asked to not write their name on the Post-it
  • Each student writes down one rule that they think would benefit the classroom
  • I collect the Post-it notes and read each one to the class
  • If any student doesn’t agree with a rule they may communicate why it shouldn’t be a rule
  • The class “approves” each rule through consensus
  • After all of the rules have been read, the class starts to categorize the rules (since we can’t have 23 unique rules!)
  • After categorizing each Post-it, my classroom rules look like this:

Ground Rules
Respect Yourself and Others
Follow Procedures
Be Responsible
Do Your Personal Best

  • The rules are posted on a poster in the classroom
  • Students place their signature on the poster and then each individual Post-it note is placed around the poster (like a border)
  • I (and often students) refer to the poster to reinforce classroom expectations throughout the year
I’ve found that this callaborative activity encourages students to participate in creating a positive classroom environment.  It also provides students an opportunity to be responsible for creating the ground rules for the classroom. This activity gives students ownership and slightly shifts responsibility from the teacher to the student.  Detailed directions for this activity are located here.  Practical examples of this strategy can be found below.
The names in the above photo have been blurred.  Having students sign the rules  often encourages accountability.

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