The foundation to differentiated teaching is a data cycle - sometimes called a program cycle or assessment cycle - that helps educators focus on understanding each child, collaborating with families and peers, and reflecting on planning steps.
Educa supports your data cycle from start to end. The language for program cycles varies across the country, but the basic flow is similar.
Please note, Educa has a 50-page Learning Story Reference Guide available upon request for customers. Please contact Educa support.
Teachers observe and interact with children while collecting information about children’s knowledge, skills and interests through observation notes and work samples.
Use child Forms to collect information from families and peers
Use shared and private Notes in each child's profile
Create draft stories to collect ideas that can be turned into Learning Stories later
Take photos of work samples - upload to draft stories
Educa supports a child-centered reflection using Learning Story templates that has customizable reflection boxes that guide teachers on analyzing learning and reflecting on next steps. [Use "story approval" to create workflow for senior teachers to support younger teachers.]
Learning Stories provide a vehicle to help teachers work through their thinking on each child, to find areas of strength and areas for growth, identify trends and construct meaning.
Inform Practice/Plan (and Collaborate)
Teachers use what they learned from the their stories and importantly the feedback from families they recieve when the stories are shared via our Educa Touch apps (Android and iOS) to intentionally plan differentiated instruction based on children’s interests, areas of strength and areas for growth.
This can be formalized in a Plan in Educa where teachers can identify materials and supports needed, provide a channel for a family or child's voice and plan for how they will assess progress.
Many centers encourage teachers to evaluate their teaching as they go. This is possible in Educa by enabling a private reflection box in each story for teachers only, or by creating a Teacher Form (there is a template in Educa) or by posting reflections in the private Teacher Portfolio.
All teachers linked to a child can see that child's learning stories, plans and forms, making collaboration with peers easy.
Links to the DRDP from Learning Stories post to Ratings in Educa where they can be manually updated, observations added. Ratings are part of each child's profile.
Ratings are visible to linked educators and to families.
The Cycle Continues
The feedback on Learning Stories and Plans and the implementation of next steps continues the cycle.
Educa has activity reports to track stories written, curriculum usage and parent engagement to evaluate your center's process.