Knowing what my students know is important to me, but remembering who is struggling with what aspect of a given concept from day to day is impossible. There are just too many students and too many variations. I absolutely have to write down what they know if I want to act upon it the next day. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of time in a given class period to take those notes. As I result, I have started creating anecdotal record forms that are specific to a big idea that I am addressing in class. On these anecdotal records, I have a single box for each kid. In each box, I have specific items of which I want to ensure mastery. I use one sheet for each period. I put a different student’s initials in each box. Then, I make copies of the sheets so that I have enough to use for more than one day. Alternatively, I use a different color pencil each day. I keep them on a clipboard for ease of use. As I circulate around the room, I circle an item in a student’s box if it is an area that I need to address with him or her. The next day, I simply look at the sheet from the previous day and I know exactly what I need to address with specific students.

I have just started a unit in which students will be representing and analyzing data in tables and graphs. During this unit, I will be using the anecdotal records shown below.

I use the” Ind/Dep” category to indicate whether students are correctly selecting the correct axis for the variables (independent variable on x, dependent variable on y). The “Intervals” category indicates whether the student is maintaining uniform intervals on the axis (a very common error in the early days of making graphs). The “Continuous/Discrete” category indicates whether a student is correctly determining whether or not to connect the points on the graph. The “Plot points” category indicates whether a student is correctly plotting points (x,y vs y,x). The remaining categories are more minor errors, but errors that I want students to clean up.

You can download the form by clicking on the link below the photo.