This summer we discussed the pros and cons between two different ways to setup and organize your student data. You can organize your students’ data by student or by center. Check out this post to learn all about these two methods. One way is not better than the other. I have used both systems and a hybrid of the two depending on the year. When it comes to data my motto is always – If it’s not easy, you won’t use it. Make sure this system seems easy and doable to you. It doesn’t matter if it seems easy to me, it has to work for you and in your class.
Today we are going to chat about data organized by student. Having a separate data binder, clipboard, or area for data for each student is a nice way to stay organized and have everything in one place. It makes writing IEPs a bit quicker and is perfect for one on one paraprofessionals and in-home therapist.
Use a Divider to Separate the Sections
If it is going to take you 13 seconds to find the right data sheet every time you sit down to work with your student, that is 13 seconds that smart little guys has to a do a whole number of things you probably don’t want him to do. I’ve seen it (or done it!) a million times. You have your materials and binder all ready to go. You get the student to the table. He is ready to work. You look down for what seems to be a split second to get to the right page in the binder and where is that student? Gone, gone, gone. He is halfway down the hallway en route to his favorite water fountain. Dammit. A little bit of organization may have prevented that. Using dividers helps you easily and quickly find the data sheet you need, exactly when you need it.
What sections do you need?
I like to have a section for each goal. Instead of writing the name of the goal on the divider I like to just label the divider sections Goal 1, Goal 2, etc. and then have a post it next to the list with a guide. Goal 1 = Receptive Sight Words. Goal 2 = Typing Fluency. Goals can change and heaven forbid I ruin that divider page! This leaves me with a lot of flexibility and saves on paper (reusable divider tabs year to year!). After the goals, I like to have a section for the masters for data sheets. No more scrambling around trying to find the master when you run out. I also include sections for behavior, old data sheets, assessments, and additional work.
Include Program Guides and Data Sheets
Make sure to include a program guide and data sheet for each goal. I love data sheets that are simple and straightforward. The program guide explains how to run the goal. Learn more here.
Include Necessary Materials
Keeping materials needed to run programs close by makes life so much easier. This simple system for sight words was immensely helpful for one of my in-home clients. We had a section for words he had mastered (that we used for monthly maintenance checks), working on (words he is currently working), and unmastered (future words to work on). It kept everything organized and we could easily find the words we need stored in this front binder pocket.