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Anecdotal Notes

I have several different types of groups that I see daily.  Some math, some ela, pushing in to classrooms and pulling kids out.  I have finally created a way to keep notes for all different types of groups that I like and can manage.  I have a clipboard for each group (9 total).  Each clipboard is loaded with the type of record form I want to use.  My math record forms have a spot for a general idea of the lesson (equivalent fractions), a list of students names (up to 10 students), and then a spot to check Mastered, Progressing, or Needs Reteaching for each student.  On the bottom it also has a spot for general notes and follow up.  3 of these fit on 1 page.  This makes it easy for me to walk into a room, jot down the lesson topic and quickly see who has it and who needs help.  I can also keep track of specific notes I wanted to write and anything I may need to do to follow up.  When it comes time to do progress notes, I have a list of what we did and who understood what.  For reading groups I'm using the CAFE reading conference notes.  It has a spot for the book, level, what I observed as well as the concept we talked about and the next steps to meet that goal.  Each student has their own page (not as easy to manage) but each page has a spot for 6 notes.  All my clipboards are kept in a basket next to my desk.  Before I leave to go to a classroom, I grab that groups clipboard and I'm all set. 

Bulletin Boards

When I was in college, I was so excited about making bulletin boards.  I like scrapbooking and being creative so decorating a classroom should be simple, right?  Now that I'm in the classroom, I have to say bulletin boards are a huge pain!  If you make them seasonal, they need to be changed frequently.  Punching out titles takes FOREVER.  I never have ideas that tie into what I'm teaching at the time.  I suggest you spend 20 minutes or so looking through bulletin board pictures online.  Save any that look remotely interesting to you.  I've found a few that I really like that can be left up all year round.  I have also found some that don't point out the fact that my students aren't on the same level as their classmates.  In August, put up bulletin boards that can stay up all year long if needed.  If you get the urge and time to change them, go ahead but it won't be something that hangs over you head.  Here are a few pictures of my boards:

Genre Study board - Students write the titles and authors of books that fit each genre on a post-it and stick it under the correct poster.

Literacy Cafe Board - The half post-it note marks our current focus.