I was reading many posts this past week about how to organize data and keep your files together. I wanted to share with you the various methods I've used to keep my students data. I don't have any pictures yet as I'm just starting out with blogging and learning as I go. When I can figure out how to do that I'll add some on!
My first year:
When I first started teaching I used a binder. I had two binders, one for Writing and one for Reading. Each student had their own tab and I kept important assessments (alphabet recognition, running records) in the binder. I also keep all my conference notes for each student. Back then I just used lined paper for my conference notes and didn't have much of a system for conferencing. I loved using the binder because everything was right there BUT by the end of the year my binder was overflowing with data and was bursting - literally pages were falling out and I could not longer open and close the binder to remove important papers without risking everything ending up on the floor! Oh was it a mess. As messy as it was this was still one of my favorite ways to organize data. I used this system for two years!
The middle years:
After using the binder method for two years I moved on to a folder system. I did this for two reasons 1) I was tired of all the papers falling out by the end of the year and 2) I was co-teaching which meant we would both need access to the students files at any given time and having a binder just wasn't going to work. So I started using folders. This method worked pretty well. Each student had a folder with their name on it. On the inside of the folder I put two labels - Writing Conferences and Reading Conferences. As I met with the students I could just pull out their folder and see their progress. I like to have my folders in alphabetical order so that I can easily pull one out during conference time. To help maintain this order my co-teacher labeled each folder with a number next to their names! It was very helpful. My first year using the folder system I had a wonderful pocket chart on loan from a friend of mine. It was brightly colored and I was able to put two or three folders in each pocket for easy access. It was magnetic and was able to hang on the door to our bathroom. I really loved this chart! Unfortunately she needed the chart back.... so I ended up using one of the plastic folder/magazine holders I had. I liked that when I was conferencing with my students I had all of their work right in front of me - both reading and writing! By this time I had streamlined my conference note system (I will share that another day!) so each student had one sheet per month which cut down A LOT on the papers!
My current organization system:
This year I will no longer be co-teaching and will be back in a room on my own. I will most likely stick with the folder system BUT I do all of my conference notes in google documents! I love it!! I find that my notes are neater and I conference much quicker this way because I type a lot faster than I can write. I'm thinking that once a month I will print out my notes and add them to the folders.
Aside from organizing my conference note/running records I also maintain large file folders for each student. I collect all their published writing pieces and save them. At the end of the year I bundle them up and send them home. I think it makes a nice gift to the parents to see how far their child has come since September. I also pick and choose some other drawings throughout the year to save to add to their end of the year gift to their parents. In these portfolios I also keep their ECAM (math assessment) as well as the formal Writing Assessment we do.
I'd love to hear from you - what types of assessments do you use? How do you organize your data and conference notes?