When creating Chronicle, there were a lot of use cases that we were able to foresee in the development phase. For example, we incorporated the audio functionality because we knew it would be an ideal way to capture a student’s fluency during Reading Workshop. Additionally, there have been many times that I’ve been conferring with students when I wished I could just easily snap a photo of a student’s work to either document progress, communicate a need, etc. From there came the ability to take picture notes. And those presentations of my fifth graders’ science fair projects, well, I knew I wanted a simple way to record them, and if I wished, to share a child’s presentation with a parent saying something like, “Hey Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I just wanted to let you know what a great job Billy did on the presentation of his project. Take a look!”
However, during the piloting of Chronicle, there were a lot of use cases that I didn’t foresee, such as the use of the Traffic Light System as a behavior management tool. I decided to use it one day to monitor stamina during independent reading. I scanned the classroom, and for the few students who continually struggled during independent reading without getting distracted or distracting others, I pulled them to the side to let them know my observations and how I would have to unfortunately give them a red traffic light, as well as that I would be using these traffic lights to keep track of their progress in this area. What surprised me was not that they stayed on task for the rest of independent reading that day, but when the next day came, a couple of them asked me if they were still in the “red zone” (their words). I told them that I needed to see a week of good, solid, focused independent reading before I changed their color to green.
Were they perfect during independent reading from then on? No, not perfect, but markedly better. Their exposure to text increased significantly during this time, and I was able to more efficiently work with other individuals and small groups.
I then thought about trying this in other areas, such as some of the learning behavior descriptors found on our report cards. One, in particular, reads something like, “Organizes materials and is prepared for class.” Now I’ve tried plenty of behavior modification plans throughout the years to help with organization, but the traffic lights truly surprised me how it motivated the students to keep their desks more tidy.
So I figured I would leave this blog post open to anyone who’d like to share effective ways they’ve found in using some of the features of Chronicle. Hopefully, we can all learn from each other!