Welcome to my first post!
Need for Documentation
How do you keep track of student work? As a teacher, it is imperative to document students’ work, skills, communication, etc. While all teachers are aware of the need to document, we don’t always have the time to properly follow through. Unfortunately, when we don’t document the student data, parents and administrators can (and often do) question our decisions and opinions. Without documentation to back up our statements, our expertise is called into question.
Charts to the rescue! We use a very simple method to document what our students are doing: excel charts. At the beginning of the year, we create a chart for each class of students. In our case, we have two groups of students on our team, so we create two charts. Using excel means that we can add or remove students, as needed, as well as change names, when necessary (it’s amazing how many times this comes into use!)
These charts are handy for many different uses (more on that later). Our primary use for them, however, is to record students’ work as it is turned in. Each day, when students turn in their assignments, homework, etc, we add a title for it and check off the work that students have turned in. The charts hang on a clipboard, near the door, along with our turn in baskets. This way, students can easily check the chart to see if their work has been marked off, and turn in anything they need to as they walk in.
Checking in work takes a minimum amount of time. We don’t grade the work at that point, we merely note that it has been received. Because of the immediacy of the system, students are able to easily see where they stand with regards to work.
No Name Papers
If a student turns in a paper that has no name on it, we obviously can’t mark it off, so it goes on the whiteboard with a magnet. Often, students will check the chart, see that their assignment isn’t checked off, then get it from the board, put their name on it and turn it back in. All of this can take place without involving the teacher, at all. What a timesaver! Making students responsible for their assignments helps build those habits for the future.