When it comes to data collection organization, the only wrong way is no data collection at all. How exactly you organize your data depends totally what works for you and your classroom. Depending on my caseload and the types of paras I had, I am always switching up the organization of our data because the needs of my room have changed so much. There are two major ways to organize data: organized by student or organized by center. There are pros and cons to both, both work, and you can do a little mixture of both if you want to get crazy.
You want to get as organized as you possibly can. Because you may be taking data for your whole class at each center the key to this system working well is having a quick and simple way to find the right data sheet when you need it. If you get your guy sitting at the table ready to work and now you have to flip through a million pages to find the right data sheet – where is your kid? He is so gone. He is two floors up at his favorite water foundation. Once your student is ready to work, so are you. You have got to get and stay super organized.
You can use binders, clipboards, or even just post the data at each center. The goal is that there will be a space to take data for every kid that comes to that center. It’s built right in to the center. I always talk about this when I do trainings on classroom setup because this is really part of the setup process.
Like I said, this system may be a great fit for your class or it may completely not work. This system is great because you can plan ahead and make sure there is a way to take data in all areas of the classroom as opposed to trying to bring students’ around throughout the day. I really like and have used both systems – you need to choose what works best for you!