Little boxes

It’s that time again to fill in end-of-year data sheets and calculate the progress of various groups, vulnerable or otherwise, of children in my Y2/3 class.

Although I don’t actually enjoy filling in little colour-coded boxes and reducing children to numbers and value added scores, there is a certain serenity about the numbers that I like.

The numbers don’t tell the story of the teaching and learning in my classroom over the year; they don’t show the laughter and smiles; the “in” jokes that we build together throughout the year or the personalities of each individual child. But what they do show is that, despite my many moments of panic and self-doubt, despite the afternoons where I have looked around a glitter and tissue-paper filled classroom and wondered how on earth I could get so and so to understand fractions or such and such to actually remember all his number bonds of 10, the children in my class have made progress. Despite me or because of me, they have still made progress.

I’d much rather look through their books and compare pieces of writing from September and now. I’d much rather work with a child or a group doing some maths problem solving and see how their mathematical thinking and reasoning has moved on in the last 10 months. I’d much rather listen to a child read and see the joy on their face as they enjoy reading rather than struggling to decode every word.

But, there is something very satisfying about those small boxes of numbers and the hard work they represent.