Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Being Prepared!

We start Term 2 in only a few days and then we have only six weeks until reports are due! We haven't even started back and the deadline seems incredibly close.

This year I am determined to be prepared, organised and ready so that I will avoid the usual stress that most teachers associate with writing reports.

I was pretty organised in Term 1 so I feel like I am well on the way already. Today I went into work and spent a little bit of time filing and organising the assessment pieces I have from last term (we write semester reports so it will be based on Term 1 and the first half of Term 2). It didn't take very long to get organised (about an hour??) and now I can see what else I need to collect before I write the reports.

I use a system that I have developed over the past few years for organising student work samples. I prefer to colleect them according to the assessment piece and then enter data into a spreadsheet for a summary and use the summary to write the first draft of the reports. I later sort the samples into a folio for each child so that I have this to give to parents at the Parent Teacher Interviews.

For the last few years though, I have been teaching bigger kids and they were able to do most of the filling of their own folios. I think it is valuable for them to be involved in the process. I am not so sure if this will work with my Year 2s and I will probably have to fill 24 folios on my own...

Here is a picture of the manilla folder system I use for the assessment pieces. I glue a strip with the students names down one side and then I can tick off whose pieces I have. Sometimes a student was away on the day I collected the work, or they didn't finish it, or they hid it in their desk. I can easily see if I need to follow anybody up.
I have recorded the name of the task or a description in blue at the top of the folder and written the key subject area in orange on the front, as well as "Term 1" in purple. If there is more than one subject assessed in one piece (lots of them include English...) then I write all of the relevant subjects down the side strip.

Inside the folder I have put all of the samples into alphabetical order so it should be easier when it comes to the folio filling job.

Here is a photo of one of the criteria sheets. I have tried to develop something that is simple enough for parents to understand (and older students) as well as having all the details that are required by my principal (links to Australian Curriculum documents etc).
I find this style of checklist to be easy to write, quick to mark and useful for showing more than one subject area on a page. There is usually enough space on the page to include comments about the work habits as well.
I am pleased with the basic design of these criteria sheets because I think they look neat in the folios and meet the needs of all stakeholders (students, parents, administration and me!).

How do you organise student work prior to report writing? Do you collect it by task, subject or student?
If you have any ideas, please leave them as a comment so that we can all help to make report writing time a little less stressful...


  1. I have just spent the afternoon 'organising' myself ready for parent/teacher interviews starting next week. Using a folio for work samples is ideal when discussing students levels with parents. Love you folder idea - simple and efficient!!! We have 7 weeks till report cards due. Interesting that you only use 1/2 of term 2 results. How does that fit in with C2C, say Science, which does their assessment in Weeks 8 and 9 (this is in Year 1)??? Our year level is planning on doubling up on Science in the first half of the term to tick it off, so that the results/assessment can be used in the report cards for this semester. Our Admin said we don't have to do SOSE this term, so this free's up the extra hour each week needed. So, even with C2C in place we are all still doing 'it' our own way...

    1. As you say, when the reports are due part way through the term, it is impossible to report on the things done after the reports are written! And I guess we can't just sit around and twiddle our thumbs for the last few weeks of each semester.
      We don't have access to the C2C resources so we are completely on our own in interpreting the new curriculum, although I must say, I am really enjoying the challenge!
      I have structured my history unit so that they are doing the "assessment" activities firstly at the beginning of the term, with lots of guidance, and about Anzacs, then they will repeat the same tasks about a different topic later in the term, more independently, which is supposed to be the real assessment. If I haven't got all the real assessment tasks done before I write the reports, I will have to use how they did on the scaffolded pieces to predict how they might go in the end.
      Since our interviews will be at the end of the term after I have finished writing reports, I will have all of their assessments finalised, so if any students do heaps better (or worse) on the second pieces, I can tell the parents at the interview and show the samples.
      I can't see any other way around it.
      We did a lot of Science last term and very little SOSE, so I am hitting SOSE hard in the next few weeks and will get back to Science in the last few weeks of term because I have more than enough to write reports from last term.
      Having said that, I am about to post an ANZAC Science activity - because I love Science!

  2. I know that it is different in US but I started using Data Binders!

    Check out this blog post and get some free graphs. . . it helps the kids become more responsible for their own learning.

    Thanks for the info!
    Rockin' Teacher Materials

    1. Thanks, Hilary!

      I love seeing different ways of organising student work. Your graphs are great. They look very organised!
      I use a graph for spelling tests and maths tests each week too. They are stapled inside their "reading record book" so it goes home each week.
      The students do the graph themselves and I check that it is accurate. It's a great chance to practise graphing. My maths test is out of 20 and I have only 10 squares to colour so they have to work out how to show the odd numbers on the graph too.