Anecdotal Records Take One – What Can You You Do
When we are about to start working with a mathematical process fraught with pitfalls and errors, I make an anecdotal record form unique to that process. The form consists of a bunch of boxes (one for each student) filled with key components of the process.
This is one that I use when I teach students how to make a line graph. I put a student’s initials in each box. Each day, I walk around and watch my students work with this form on a clipboard, making note of what they can do correctly with a check and what errors they are making by circling an item in the box. At the end of the period, I have a snapshot of exactly where each student’s mastery is. The next day, I know exactly what conversations I need to have with each student. Sometimes, I use the same form multiple days and track progress by using a different color ink on different days. Sometimes, I just use a new sheet on different days.
This is another one that I use for proportional relationships
I love using these kinds of anecdotal records because I know exactly what each student knows and exactly where I need to target instruction for each one of them. The record keeping is easy to do during class and easy to access when I want to check progress.
While I primarily use this to target instruction, it is also very useful when I need to track progress for an IEP or SAT intervention.
Anecdotal Records Take Two – Knowing What Do You Do When You Get Stuck
While knowing what students know is important, knowing what they do when things get tough is equally important. I found this form in Mathematics Assessment – A Practical Handbook .
I like this form because it gives me a snapshot of where the student is getting stuck and what he or she does when that happens.
Anecdotal Records Take Three – Knowing Whatever Else
I keep a folder like this for each class period. Each index card corresponds to a different student. (No, these are not all the students in the class. There are more on the other side of the folder). I put the student name on the bottom of the index card, and then use the lines to record relevant observations. I date the line and then write whatever I observed. I use these to document whatever I need to remember about a particular student. It can serve as a record regarding a particular intervention. It can serve as a record of behaviors. Mostly, it serves as a means for me to detect and recognize patterns. By using this, I am able to recognize things like a particular student being more of a sequential thinker or being more of a conceptual thinker. Recognizing the patterns in the way a student thinks helps me do a better job of meeting his or her needs.
I keep the forms in “Anecdotal Records Take Three” in each folder. The set of them are in a file holder on a table beside my desk so that I have easy access to them as needed during class.