This three-lesson work habits unit was delivered to all 4th grade students and is aligned with our first program goal. The lessons are also directly linked to our vision of developing enthusiastic learners and building students’ self-awareness, to our mission to foster students’ academic success and career and college readiness, and to the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors.
The first lesson addressed learning styles, and process data shows that 100 4th-grade students participated in the 45-minute lesson. We collected perception data through a written pre- and post-survey to measure gains in knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Students completed a pre-survey, and no students could name their learning styles; at the end of the lesson, 100% of students could do so. Additionally, students answered the question, “How do you feel about your ability to successfully complete classwork, homework, quizzes, and tests?” on a scale from 1 (not at all confident) to 5 (very confident) at the beginning and end of the lesson. By the end, 79% of students felt more confident about their ability to successfully complete schoolwork, 21% felt the same, and none felt worse. Data also showed that students were able to complete the inventory, identify their learning style, and create a 3-step study plan based on their learning style (though 16% of students did require school counselor support to complete the plan). We will continue to use this lesson as part of our unit on strengthening work habits. In the future, example study plan suggestions discussed as a large group will likely increase the percentage of students who are able to complete the study plan independently. We were excited to see that all students reported that their attitudes toward work improved or stayed the same based on the knowledge gained about their learning styles. Next year, in an effort to increase the number of students who report that their attitudes toward work improved, versus simply staying the same, time will be adjusted so that there can be a stronger focus on reflection and discussion at the conclusion of the lesson.
The second lesson focused on the importance of organization for personal and school success, and process data indicates that 98 students participated in the 45-minute lesson. Students played a SMARTboard game to highlight the benefits of staying organized and learn organizational strategies. Then, students identified a current “problem area” for organization—backpacks or desks—and assigned themselves a baseline rating. Students then organized the space and re-rated their organization. Perception data was collected via the pre- and post-ratings and, on a scale from 1-4, organization ratings increased from an average of 2.14 to an average of 3.49. Additionally, on the post-survey, all students reported a rating of a 3 or a 4. Based on perception data, as well as counselor and teacher observations, students were engaged and invested in improving their ratings. When planning this lesson in the future, we will add options like a follow-up lesson and/or incentive plan to further increase student engagement and create a lasting impact on work habits.
The third lesson focused on managing test anxiety, and process data indicates that 97 students participated in the 45-minute lesson. A pre- and post-survey was used to collect perception data, and measured students’ attitudes concerning the ability to stay focused and calm before and during a test, as well as knowledge about test preparation strategies. Perception data indicated a significant increase on each question. Next year, the lesson will be delivered again, with adjustments made in an effort to further improve perception data. The lowest positive response concerned staying focused during tests, so increased time dedicated to skills for staying focused (versus staying calm) should strengthen student knowledge. Additionally, 98% reported that they knew strategies to get back on track if they became nervous or distracted during a test; however, only 88% of students were able to accurately report those appropriate strategies. Next year, we will include a more concise review of all strategies to summarize the information and make it more memorable for students.
For all three lessons, outcome data was collected by analyzing student reading data with the support of our school’s Reading Specialist. Data indicated that 88% of 4th-grade students and 89% of K-5 students demonstrated proficiency in literacy by the end of the year, exceeding our program goal target of 86%. This outcome data combined with the increases in knowledge, skills, and attitudes demonstrated in the perception data indicate that this unit was a valuable addition to our core curriculum.