Focus on Five: {Must-Have} Items for Data Collection!

This month’s theme at TAH is data collection! While this can be intimidating, once you start the process you will absolutely love data and what it can do to help you and your students! So I wanted to start slow and share with you the five most essential items to ensure seamless data collection…

1. Clicker (Hand Tally Counter)

One of the most useful items in data collection that I have been introduced to is the the clicker, otherwise know as a hand tally counter. You might have seen these at sporting events or a places where teachers get beverages after a rough week of teaching… You can purchase them on Amazon and it makes collecting frequency data so much easier! It is especially useful if it is a behavior that is occurring often and too fast for you to tally. You can then put it on a chart at the end of the day, period or activity.

2. Pencils (with an eraser)

This might seem obvious, but it is important to use pencil with an eraser. In a pinch, you can use the same pencils as the kids, but it is nice to have your own for teachers and staff to collect data to always ensure that you have an eraser intact. I love the Dixon Ticonderoga pencils in black so they look different than the kids’ pencils. Make sure that you have pencils easily accessible to staff or near the data sheet to ensure timely data collection.

3. Data Sheets

Having data sheets, copied and ready to go is another important item to have to make sure data collection is happening!  TAH has some very user-friendly data sheets, including Special Education Data Sheets and 20 Special Education Data Sheets Set 2. Set one includes 24 different data sheets including the classic ABC, frequency count and a discrete trial data sheet. Set 2 includes a lunch skills data sheet, multiple fluency data sheet (my favorite!), wh- question data…and much more! The best part is that they are editable so you can tailor them to the needs of your students and your classroom!

4. Binders or Clipboards

Going along with the data sheets, you need a convenient, organized and easily accessible way to store them. I personally prefer binders, either for a small group of students, individual students or a type of data/assessment. I have also used clipboards in certain areas of the classroom in which that data is collected. I previously kept a clipboard by the door for student elopement data so we could record the time and hypothesized reason (e.g. bathroom, water, spinning in the hallway) for the elopement when we brought the student back inside.

5. Organized Learning Materials

I found that it was easier to take data when all the materials I needed were in one place! Seems obvious, but I was struggling to collect academic data because all the materials I needed were in different parts of the room. Find a system or area that works for you. For my instructional program data, I keep it all at my teacher time center. I keep the materials in a closed box on my table so that students don’t get into them. I ended up just keeping them in one contained because I have multiple students working on the same goals, but if you wanted to use three bin drawers or another way to organize…do what works for you, your classroom and your students! 

I hope you got some ideas about how to implement data collection in your classroom! Share any items you use to make data collection in your classroom a breeze!

Holly Bueb
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