Observation notes is essential teaching. There are some best practices to make this daily task easier and more efficient. Here are some tips:
Record Time and Date
Time and date information is helpful. For example, you can spot trending behaviors, such as challenges always happening in the morning. Teachers can also use time and date info to make sure their intentional about taking notes throughout the day.
I noticed that I use to take notes only between 10am and 11am, which is free choice time. I needed to do more.
Abbreviations for Names
Write quickly because you may miss something. For information you write repeatedly, abbreviate. For example, teacher can be “T” or teacher assistant is “TA”. Draw a circle around it so it helps you know it’s a name or professional title.
For children, write abbreviations. There’s two reasons for that. First, child observations are confidential. If notes are lying about, abbreviated names can help maintain privacy. Secondly, I would highly suggest you make up some names, such as having your own code for children. For example, in my picture above, I have “G1”. It could stand for the first girl on my alphabetized roster. Or, I could have a master list where I have a list of names matching with special abbreviations (“GB” is for Gabby, “ST” is for Samantha, etc.).
Practice Makes a Keener Eye
Keep watching. Keep writing. Writing speed will improve. With practice, you can write notes without looking at your notebook. Neatness is not necessary, but make sure you can read your notes later or else it’s all for not.