In my classroom, I like putting the emphasis on observations, because everything we do is important and is used to determine their grade. I do use conversations and productions, but I still love my observations. It's easy, simple and when it comes to report card time, my comments are basically done!
I start off with a class list. At the top of the page, I have a place where I can add the learning goal of the lesson, as well as the date. Afterwards, my page is divided into three columns : student name, a box for "acquired, being acquired and not acquired" and comments.
For every learning goal, most of my students fall in the Not Acquired or Being Acquired category at the beginning. Writing where they're at on my class list allows me to see quickly the improvement that they're making and hopefully after a couple of lessons, they are well on their way to the status of Acquired.
Loosely translated, not acquired is equal to a level 1, being acquired is a level 2 and acquired is a level 3. Sometimes, the speed at which they acquire the skills, or the ability to apply their knowledge will give them their level 4. Obviously, professional development does play a huge part in this, as students all work at different levels all the time.
I use the short form (A, BA or NA), since it makes it a lot easier and allows me to have more room for my comments.
I don't always write comments for every student, every day, every lesson. This would require a lot of work! What I do write in the comments is information that stood out or struck me as important to note. If a student needed extra help, I will write that down. If a student has it for the most part but made a simple mistake, I'll write down the mistake to see if it disappears next time. If I notice or talk to the student about a specific next step for them to take, I will write this down as well.
I will also make sure I make a comment for every student at least once throughout a specific learning goal. Even if it's a simple "Understands without my help" or "easy for student to accomplish", at least I've written it down.
I also make sure everything is short and quick to write. If I notice that I'm always making the same comments, I'll create a short version of this comment.
Basically, I'm writing my report card comment right here. Sometimes it'll be what they've learned, sometimes it'll be their next step, but it's always personal and anecdotal, which is one of the keys of Growing Success.
How to Get Started
To get started, you can download a FREE copy of my class list. It is editable, allowing you to insert your own student names and adjust how many rows you need (since I have 25 students, my version has 25 rows). In the image above, I used KG Behind These Hazel Eyes font but since I wanted the file to be editable, I changed it to Arial Black. For your own personal use, you can download the font I use and install it on your computer.
I print around 20-25 copies to start in 4 different colours. This year, I placed each colour in a different duotang, representing different subjects. You can also place them in one large binder, using dividers to separate the subjects.
Every time your students are working, you simply grab a sheet, write the learning goal and date at the top and start observing and commenting! It's THAT easy!
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