Tuesday, June 24, 2014

D is for Data and Documentation



It's August 25, 2013 8:15a.m. Some students are arriving off the bus and others are coming into class with their parents!! PARENTS! I am not prepared to work with parents on my first day as a teacher. One assistant is pulling things out of the backpacks and trying to talk to me while I introduce myself to my first parent of the year. The mom is sharing a bunch of info with me -most of which I don't even remember 10 months later. I just knew if I didn't grab a sticky note, I was sure to forget everything she just spent time explaining.  I asked politely for her to pause while I grab a pen to jot the info down.  I wanted to make sure I remembered and accomplished everything the parent was asking and telling me.  After I wished her a good day, I turned my attention to 2 other parents, and I jotted down some more info on my sticky note. I placed the sticky note 'safely' on my desk and welcomed my new class of 6th, 7th and 8th graders.

By the end of this first day, I was exhausted. Can I just curl up in bed and sleep for ten hours (while getting a massage)?  Nope! That wasn't going to happen because as I look around my room, I notice more and more things out of place, especially the mess on my desk.  Then it hit me, where did that sticky note go!? Uh oh! I pray it's buried under all that stuff!

I didn't understand.  I barely even used my desk today, how could it be this disastrous!?  Where did all this stuff come from!? There were pens, pencils, random papers (from the students and the office), puzzle pieces, Velcro, file folder pieces, and some crumbs (which I believe came from a kiddos' graham cracker). Where should I start-the classroom or my desk? I decided to tackle the class first, I picked up and replaced all items where they should be then turned my attention to the mess on my desk. I slowly started to organize, stack and file things away praying I find that sticky note. About 20 minutes later, I could see my desk and a little sticky note that had gotten a little crumpled. Thank the Lord! It had survived. At that moment, I realized I need a better system for documenting conversations with parents.

I already send home student folders w/ a notebook for communicating, but I needed something to keep myself sane.  I remembered a Communication Log I created over the summer that would work perfectly for this! I printed them out and put them in a binder.  I made a sheet for each kiddo with a couple of pages of notebook paper behind each one to have extra writing space.
Download for free on my TpT store
This document became my main source of documentation to help me remember who I've contacted and why or who has contacted me.  The coolest part was in May I looked back at the beginning of the year and could see the rapport building between the parents and I.

Okay, enough on parent communication documentation. Let's talk about data collection and documentation. I still need some major practice in this area.  My 1st 9 weeks were a mess trying to teach and collect data on goals & objectives.  I tried many methods including: index card data collection, Evernote data collection, Google docs data collection , and using Google forms to collect data. The index card method seemed to confuse me because I couldn't even remember the goals off the top of my head and I tried to put a short bullet point about the goals/objectives on the card, but I still became confused.  Most of the other methods I tried were tied to electronics.  I don't know why I didn't realize this sooner but first off, I am hardly ever on anything electronic device during the day. Secondly, even if my data was loaded into Evernote or Google drive I still had to transfer it into our district data program which in my mind is double work.

Then around October I decided to use a blank data sheet I got from another teacher. I placed several copies of it  a 1" binder for each student.  The binder included their goals (printed from their IEP) and worksheets corresponding to the goals.   Each binder was placed in a box with tasks that also corresponded to their goals/objectives. The idea behind this setup was the staff member that was to work with the student would take the box, set up their station and work with the student if it was time for Direct Instruction or observe and collect data if it was time for Independent work. This worked well for most of the year, but I still have some adjustments to make to make it more efficient for next year. I have created this form in a word document for you to download for free!
Download on TpT

If you didn't want to include the goals/obj's from the student's IEP you can use an IEP overview sheet to show a snapshot of their education plan.
Download the IEP overview sheet

For behavior Data, I have a separate 1.5" binder that has a tab for each student and there are several copies of my ABC (behavior) chart.
Check out my editable ABC chart here

I have a few students who have seizures and other health issues and may attend the nurses' office regularly, I document that information on my Health Data form.
Download the Seizure & Nurse record forms on TpT

I want to collect more data during inclusion next year. I'll place the form on a clipboard for the assistants to grab on the way out.  You can find how to collect inclusion data at TheAutismHelper.com.  Sasha has some amazing forms on TpT!
View more posts from this series!

This post is part of my summer series, "ABCs of a 1st year teacher." Check back on Thursday for the letter E! I'll be posting about Emergencies.


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