Documentation

Discussion in 'General Education' started by pwhatley, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 18, 2008

    Hi again, all!
    Spurred on by the thread about first year mistakes, I'm curious about your documentation methods. I mean in detail! I don't know how formal the schools need it to be. In my district, the only formal documentation is a carbonless form (I hate 'em!) used when a child is sent as a referral to the A.P. I agree that a teacher should document as much as possible, but where do you find the time? I hated it because I would have to stop the class, find some kind of busywork for the students (1st & 3rd), then find the papers (not my class) and finally write it all out! I will take any advice you have to give!





     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jun 18, 2008

    This is something I have struggled with as well. I like that kc gave in that thread about having a journal and just journaling the good/bad that occured during the day. Of course w/ immediate referrals, I have let the students have a "brain break" where they can quietly chat while I wrote out the form.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I keep a binder on my desk within easy reach at all times. The binder is divided into sections by class period. In each section, I have a sheet of paper for each student. The sheet has a table with columns for Date, Behavior/Event, and Actions Taken. When I have a free moment, I just flip to the student's page, jot down a very brief description of any inappropriate behaviors or odd/noteworthy events, and that's that.

    I like using the binder because I don't have to stop what I'm doing, log into the computer, and make notes in our grading software. Although I almost always prefer to use the computer instead of paper, this is one instance where it seems more efficient to me to go the old fashioned way.

    It's also nice because I can take the binder anywhere, including to parent conferences.

    I've heard about some teachers here using a sheet of sticky labels that they just keep with them on a clipboard. At the end of the day, they remove the labels and stick them on a documentation form similar to the one I use. This is a handy method, too.
     
  5. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I created an anecdotal page with 3 columns: date, student, incident and kept it on a clipboard. When something happened, good or bad, I would put it in the page with each student's initials instead of names (student numbers work too) and at the end of the week or two, I'd transfer the notes to the master binder. The master binder is just a 3ring binder with a divider for each kid. The first page is always contact & medical info., the second is a parent questionaire I sent home, the third is photo release and after that I have contact pages (parent contact) and the anecdotal goes in the back. It sounds like a lot of work, but it wasn't and it saved my butt when a parent filed a police report.
     
  6. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I also have a binder with page dividers per student. In it I keep their demographics, a call-log sheet where I log incoming as well as outgoing calls, copies of consequence notes I've sent and some blank sheets of paper where I doodle our phone conversations. We need this for when we refer a child especially if we have problematic children. I carry that notebook with me when I have IEPs or Student Improvement Team meetings and write in dates, topics discussed and conclusion. Always document everything. It's come in handy for referrals.
     
  7. MsMaggs

    MsMaggs Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I struggled with what I was supposed to do too! I didn't really have any problems that required documentation, but my credentialing program was repeatedly telling us to "document everything!", so I was scared about not doing it enough! Also, whenever I had a problem and reported it to my principal she always said I handled it well and just told me to "document everything!" My problem was that I didn't know how to, or when to, or anything! I used our school's system for major problems that were reported to the principal, but for general behavior issues I was slacking. In Feb. a student told his parents that I was being unfair and singling him out for punishment. We held a conference with the parents, the student and myself and it was all worked out easily, but I would have been relieved of so much stress if I would have been documenting all of this child's behaviors so I could just pull out a sheet of paper and show the parents what their child did on such and such date. After that I bought a calendar notebook with a lot of space for each day and I wrote down all of the behavior problems for the day and any missing assignments for the day. It worked pretty well for me. Next year I think I'll start doing a binder with a sheet of paper for each student too, I like that idea.
     
  8. DaTeach

    DaTeach Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    This a lot of work, but it worked well for me this past year. I printed out a calendar for the month, the squares were about 1.5 inches, I guess. I made enough copies for each child. I wrote everything about that child on their calendar each day, usually at the end of the day...absences, no homework, behavior, etc, anything relevant to that child. I kept it in a manilla folder for each month. If I had to photocopy it for a parent conference, only that child's information was copied. It is difficult to remember to document, and it takes so much time....but it is important. My principal is constantly telling us if you didn't document it, it didn't happen!

    My principal frowns on sending students to her, but if it is necessary, we have the usual carbon copy forms for that. I don't fill one of those out unless it is a severe case of misbehavior.

    I used to document at the end of the day like I was writing in a journal, but everyone's stuff would be on one page or two, and photocopying for a conference would be difficult and there were privacy issues. The calendar works better for me. Most of the kids I taught last year rarely had things written on their calendar, and boy, some had every square filled!!!
     
  9. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

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    Jun 18, 2008

    My team member had to document a student daily (for behavior reasons). She printed out blank calendars and everyday she wrote little notes in the box for that day. I plan on doing this for students next year.
     
  10. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I have a form that I have the kids fill out when they flip a card. It really helps to document behavior. I have had parents try to tell me that their "angel" didn't do something. Having the paper w/ their child's writing really helps.

    This year I hope to keep better documentation of parent communication. I am awful at remembering to write phone calls down.
     
  11. Matt633

    Matt633 Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I always start out with a folder separated by student name but after awhile I always end up journaling by the day. I have never really needed it for parent/admin (Thank Heavens) and I would have to separate everything out but the journaling at least gets things down on paper. Journaling actually puts things into focus for me about a given student sometimes I am quicker to notice patterns, etc.
    I do print a copy of every email---(that's why I love it so) and put a copy into the same folder.
     
  12. NUMB3RSFAN

    NUMB3RSFAN Rookie

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    Jun 18, 2008

    My plan...we'll see how it works!

    I'm planning on using a binder system next year as well. In it I will keep all of the Student Information Sheets in alphabetical order. On the back of each Student Information Sheet, there is a blank phone log that I will fill out as parental contact becomes necessary. I also use Student Behavior Contracts when they get to a 2nd warning in class. It requires the student to write what they did wrong, what they should have been doing, and how they will do better next time. We both sign it and then they take it home for a parent to sign. When they come back, those will go into the binder as well. Other things that can get filed into the binder would be e-mails exchanged with parents as well as the carbon discipline referrals that come back from the office. I like the binder system because you can just keep adding items as the year goes along!

    As a former accountant, I know all too well the importance of documentation and sometimes take it to the extreme. Over-documenting saved my butt as an accountant several times so hopefully it will work with my new career as well.
     
  13. teach_each1

    teach_each1 Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I use a spiral notebook (in one college class we were told that spirals would stand up in court b/c although things could be taken out-nothing could be added). Every 10-15 pages I put a sticky flag with the child's number (name goes on the top of every page.)

    When needed I date, write entry and sign. I've stapled other referrals, pics what ever I thought would help in a CYA situation.
     
  14. MsMaggs

    MsMaggs Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    That's an interesting point. I've never thought about that. Hopefully I'll never have to deal with this, but it's good to hear about what works and doesn't work as documentation with various services.
     
  15. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I have a check-list form. When a child misbehaves, I check the appropriate box, and have the student sign it. It goes home and the parent has to sign it and return it. Then I file it by student name. I've never had a problem with the form coming back (I don't allow the child to have recess the next day if the form doesn't come back.) If it doesn't come back the next day, I get on the phone and call the parent while the incident is fresh in my mind, and write a dated note of what we discussed, and file that.

    99% of the time, the students bring the signed note back, once they realize I will call home if they don't.
     
  16. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I use a clipboard. Basically its a roster with five columns - one for each day. I can make notes on the clipboard as I go with minimal disruption - students also see me writing and will "straighten up" a bit - the same way drivers do when they see a police car ;) . One of our kids called it the "magic" clipboard because of this. I really like the idea of sticky labels though - the convenience of the clipboard plus a way of easily sorting notes out by student . . . hmmmnnnn . . .
     
  17. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I really like the idea of using a calendar to document things throughout the day on particular students.

    One thing that I do is staple a behavior checklist in each students agenda every Monday. At the end of the day, I have two students stamp the checklist for that day if the students did not get their name on the board. If they did get their name on the board, they have to come up to me where I check off why they get their name on board, 1 check, 2 checks, etc. and then jot down a little note. The important thing is that the student has to tell me why their name was on the board so they can't play dumb with their parents as to why they got in trouble. I was having a conversation with my students at the end of the year and they said that the checklist actually makes them behave because they know their parents will see it and have to initial it.
     
  18. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 19, 2008

    Although I understand the idea of using a spiral notebook, I think I will probably use a binder (when I finally get a classroom), at least initially. I have been in secretarial/bookkeeping/computer jobs for too many years, and it HAS to at least LOOK organized, or I can't stand it! (Can you say OCD?) I'm a real fan of using student numbers as well.

    Although the students I have worked with did not have to have agendas, my daughter did in the past, and I love the idea of them. The elem. schools I have been exposed to as a teacher have required some type of form on which daily conduct grades & notes were written. This can get VERY cumbersome at times, but I understand the daily feedback.

    The main problem I had with daily conduct grades is that parents were supposed to sign them and return them each day. I had several students (of differing behaviors) who's parents NEVER signed them. Others would sign them but not even look. I had one child who kept "losing" his paperwork. What do you do? I have withheld recess, and repeatedly explained to the students that it was THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to get the papers signed & to bring them back (and not mom's), but what about the moms/dads who just refuse? Is that fair to that student?

    One of my third graders (an honors and Discovery student) has a mother that never came home before midnight, and was too busy sleeping each morning to be bothered with her daughter's paperwork (or assemblies or anything else!).

    Aaaarrrggghhh! I know, I tend to overthink things, but sometimes I can only think in literal terms, and it takes some doing for me to envision things!
     
  19. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2008

    pwhatley-This is what I have planned for next year. I will have a binder that is divided into sections for each student which will have contact info, Student/Parent Questioniare, Call Log, copies of Office Referrals and Correspondence (emails, notes). Separate from that I will have a spiral notebook that is divided into sections for each student. This is where I will document events that happen throughout the day. At the end of each grading period, I will tear out the spiral pages and file them in the binder.
     
  20. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 19, 2008

    That actually sounds do-able, stg. Could you just clarify a few things for me? Sorry I'm so dense - I had sinus surgery about a week ago, and I think the doctor sucked out some brain cells while he was at it!

    I will have a binder that is divided into sections for each student which will have contact info, Student/Parent Questioniare, Call Log, copies of Office Referrals and Correspondence (emails, notes). Okay, will you have copies of referrals, etc. in each child's section, or just the ones you have used, and the rest in the back of the binder?


    Separate from that I will have a spiral notebook that is divided into sections for each student. I am picturing the post-it kind of dividers here, right?This is where I will document events that happen throughout the day. At the end of each grading period, I will tear out the spiral pages and file them in the binder. I think I will use one of the spirals that have the perforations. Otherwise, I will spend days cutting or picking off the bits of paper from tearing the pages out!

    Thanks, y'all -- I really appreciate the information! As usual, AtoZ comes through!
     
  21. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2008

    A section per child and then copies for each individual child. Some children will have info written on them, others will not. The blank sheets would replace your notebook so that you wouldn't have to lug around 2 items. It works out really well. I did add sticky notes to each child throughout the year as a quickie insert.
     
  22. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Referrals would be kept in a specific place close to my desk. Only when I have to fill one out, will a copy go into the student's section.

    Definitely using a spiral with perforations!

    This will be when I get a classroom.
     
  23. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 20, 2008

    GMTA! LOL! I hate not knowing if and where I will be in the fall! Don't you?
     
  24. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I've gotten so many great ideas from this site over the past few months and longer, and I can't wait to have a classroom to use them in!
     
  25. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I know! I've been ordering like crazy from VistaPrint, but I can't get anything that has specifics (like school, grade, etc.) on it because I have no specifics! Oh, well, it's just more stuff I will have when I get there! Got another box full today - LOVE IT!
     
  26. MS Candy

    MS Candy Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2008

    I will keep a binder this year. I used the phone call form...but did not follow up on it, so I stopped mid year. I also jotted key word on a calendar, but with one "special" child this was just not enough space....I now know, what I need ....
    1. Be very specific! Exactly what happened and who, what, when why, etc...
    2. What you said before and after, etc....did you give a warning...all that.
    3. Have the student write it out or another or the class.

    This is of course for a worst case situation but they do happen, so better to be prepared. I also mentioned that I did not follow up on my office referrals, I thought they would be put into my box, etc. I also thought my admin would fill them out and contact parents, well this was not always the case. This year, I will follow up myself.

    I am getting more ideas by reading here, as usual!
    I love the journal idea, I think this will help release me from my day as well, as be helpful.
     
  27. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    The "Autograph Book" has been wonderful for years. I never stop teaching when a child misbehaves, I simply say, "Go sign the book & write what you did." Or, if kids misses homework assignments they record it on that date in the book. I record phone calls made to parents on that date, and other information. It's been a life saver many, many times in my teaching career.
     
  28. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 21, 2008


    Hoot Owl -- I love your Autograph Book. Unfortunately, I can't envision it in a 1st or 2nd grade situation. Do you think it would work in one? Sorry - I'm just horrible at seeing some things "in my head" if I haven't seen them in life!

     

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