As we get into full swing in second semester, I wanted to write about record keeping. We get so bogged down with lessons, assignments, grading, meetings, etc. that we often forget details. Even the most organized and veteran teachers find themselves feeling like they’re “losing their mind” in the midst of all the chaos.
One particular type of record keeping that I’ve been better about this year is student and parent interactions. I think we all know the importance of being able to recall exactly when we had a conversation with a student, parent, counselor, or administrator. There will inevitably be that time when you must send a student to the counselor or office, and upon hearing about it, the parent asks, Why didn’t you tell me about it before? This scenario becomes particularly frustrating when you have tried to contact them (three times to be exact, and you even had a conversation with them), but you can’t recall when or prove it. That’s where record keeping comes in to save the day!
My personal favorite tool for this sort of record keeping is JupiterEd. Yes, I’m singing its praises again, but I really can’t say enough about how powerful this system is. I record so much – both good and bad – in JupiterEd, and it’s come in handy, particularly during parent conferences.
In JupiterEd, you go to “Log,” then select the class period of the student, and then the student(s) name(s).
- As you can see, there are quite a few options to select from in terms of discipline. You simply click on the box(es) that apply, and then “Done.” I always make a point of being specific and adding a description in the “Details” box, which will be visible to the parent and student. If you only want notes for other staff members, then use the “Staff Notes” field.
- If there’s an incident that involves multiple students in a class, simply select their names, and then follow the steps above. Those students will receive the same Details and alerts.
- JupiterEd automatically posts the details online, but if you want them to be sent to the parents and student, be sure to select that. Consequently, you can also refer the incident to the student’s counselor or administrator as an FYI.
Here are some ways that I use the log:
- When I assign students to AEC (Academic Enrichment Center, which is an after-school program where students make up missing work) or detention.
- If they’re repeatedly late to my class.
- If I have a phone conversation with a parent, I log the time and what we discussed.
- If I have to change a student’s seat and why. It’s good to keep track of it, especially if it becomes a pattern. There’s nothing like sending an email home that states, “I’ve changed Jimmy’s seat six times this week, and he still continues to be disruptive on a daily basis.”
- Any other type of behavioral or academic incident.
- Conversely, if a student does something particularly kind, helpful, or out-of-the-ordinary (Jenny sat down and got right to work without prompting, I’M SO PROUD OF HER!). Parent’s LOVE these types of notices, especially if they’re used to receiving emails with announcements or bad news.
Using this log is a game-changer when ALL of the teachers use it. I recall one time I had a difficult student who thought that I had it in for them. Their parent asked for a conference, to which I brought a copy of the student’s behavior log. You can only imagine the student’s chagrin when the log contained a long string of comments from THREE OTHER TEACHERS! If there’s a pattern that is being logged, then it’s easier for the teachers to come together and find a solution.
What if you don’t have JupiterEd? I plan to research that for next time. I’m sure the Internet has other amazing resources to do a similar type of record keeping. If you have any other method that you love and use, be sure to comment below and let me know!
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