I have FINALLY found a record keeping system that works for me! I have tried lots of different ways, but this one encompasses what I need. It is simple, requires no copies or extra things to be prepped, and I can keep track of who I am meeting with and how often.
My “system” has two parts. One is a binder. I have a tab for each child, and place copy paper hole punched and inserted for each kid. The binder is where I “house” all of my notes on every student. I then take notes on address labels. I carry a clipboard around with me during independent writing time. When I meet with someone, I quickly write their name and date on the address label, as well as whatever notes I might want to take. I don’t “require” myself to have the same components to my notes all the time. For example, I may or may not always write about a complement, teaching point, and next step. Sometime one or two words is enough to let me know what I need to remember. The address labels give me this flexibility.
When independent writing time is done, I take the sheet of labels to the binder. I peel each student’s label off of the sheet and stick it on to the blank pages by the student’s name. This way I don’t have to worry about flipping pages while conferencing. I can do the organizing after the fact, and it only takes a minute or two.
The second part of the “system” is a small white board I have posted on the wall. I make a grid with each child’s name, and slots for dates. I usually make the columns a date range – a week per column. Each day, after conferencing, I make a quick tally mark by the names of all of the children I met with. This lets me quickly see who I have or have not met with, and who I need to meet with soon.
A great added component to this is the ease of record keeping when multiple people are working with my students. For example, if I have a special ed teacher, classroom aid, parent volunteer, or anyone else meeting with my students, I want to know about what they worked on. So, each person that meets with my students on a regular basis has a specific ink color that they use for note taking and tally marks. For example, I might take all notes with black ink, but my classroom aid always uses green.
Then, when I look over notes or at the tally marks, I get an idea of who has been seeing my kids. If my aid has done all of the recent conferences with a particular student, I know I need to see that child soon.
There are certainly ways of adjusting this. You could pre-print labels with names, or spots for specific notes. However, the simplicity is what I love. Once the binder is made, the only prep I need to do involves making sure I have plenty of blank address labels. The rest is ready to go! What are your favorite tips and tricks for record keeping? I always love new ideas!