Anecdotal Records – Three Ways

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.

img_1819 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.


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