Stephanie from Fishing for Education here with a blog post on one of our "not so favourite" tasks to complete as a teacher... Writing Reports!
It's that season for most of Australia where teachers spend endless amount of hours writing and editing reports. Personally, it's not like I don't like writing them, I just am not a fan of the extra hours it takes to complete them. I'm currently on weekend #2 of writing reports, but I'm nearly finish! Woo hoo! (I bet we all have a little celebration once they are done!)
This is something that is completely different than the way I used to write reports before I moved to Australia. It took me forever the first time, but I think I'm getting the hang of it now. I figured out a way that is starting to work for me, as long as I stay organised. However, I asked around for some tips and hopefully something can work for you too!
I couldn't used just workbooks for report writing. They were too heavy to transport from home and school. It took forever-r-r to look through them all for evidence.
Tip #1 - Work Samples/Exit Slips
So, this year I decided to do exit slips or work samples for each topic. The students work independently to show how they perform on a particular learning goal. This took a little more effort each week, but it helped me in the long run. I've kept them simple, no more than 5 questions, and have often used Socrative.com to create them versus printing and making copies.
"I have tried many ways to write reports and by far the easiest way for me has been to collect all the work samples for one student and complete one student at a time." - Paula from Paula's Place
For our use of Socrative.com, we have iPads in our class and use old/recycled iPhones to respond quickly, but can download them and print them if out devices aren't working. (You can also use computers.) Plus, this site marks the work for you and organises the information in an Excel spreadsheet!
For more information, check out the tutorial below:
Tip #2 - Filing SystemWe have certain assessments we have to do for each student. After they're completed, marked and entered into our data system I place them in a filing system. It's easy to stay organised this way and portable . I hate to bring work home, but it's more comfortable to write my reports at home. When I'm ready to write my reports on a student, I just grab their folder and start working one student at a time.
Check out this system from Staples:
Tip #3 - Using the iPad to Gather WorkThis is a great tip from Paula! Using your iPad is a great way to gather information and keep them with you. We have teacher iPads at our school and I may need to snag this idea to be prepared for next semester.
"I have tried many ways to write reports and by far the easiest way for me has been to collect all the work samples for one student and complete one student at a time... Uploaded to See Saw and it is in the Maths feed - kinda like Instagram for kids. We can comment and give feedback, this way I can see a group task vey quickly..." - Paula from Paula's Place
Here are some of her examples:
Tip #4 - Don't Get Behind
"Whatever you do don't get behind on marking because there's nothing worse than marking when you should be writing reports!" - Sheri from Early Years with Sheri
Oh, how I know the pain of this! At the end of every day this term I have made sure I spend at least 30 minutes marking workbooks. I probably have more things to do, but it has to get done.
Tip #5 - Brainstorm with Your Team
"The best thing I did this year was brainstorm comment ideas with my team, particularly as a new teacher to the year level." - Jem from Jem's Bright Buttons
I didn't realise this, but my team (one other teacher and myself) do this out of habit! It's so great to be on the same page with your team. No one gets left behind, it's a bit easier on everyone and there's no need to compare!
Here are some sites that may help you out:
- http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/support/Pages/tipsforwriting.aspx - Even has a Student Checklist you can download. (VIC)
- http://det.wa.edu.au/curriculumsupport/reportingtoparents/detcms/navigation/sample-reports/ - Sample Reports and Report Templates (WA)
- http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/Assessment__Reporting_-_Improving_Student_Performance.pdf - ACARA Assessment & Reporting
- http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2012/11/101-report-card-comments-use-now - Comment Bank