You've collected all this evidence...now what?

Okay, so you have collected all this evidence. What do you do with it now? First, like I briefly mentioned, find a way to organize it and use it. My favorite way is to get one three-ring binder for each child with sheet protectors. You can get these donated by the families, especially around back-to-school sales. We put everything in chronologically. What's fun about this is that, if you start it when they start, you will have a fabulous book as a memory of their years with you when they leave. It's amazing to see how they grow through the pictures, how their artwork develops, and everything else. I put these out in the classroom so that the parents can look through them if they want, and the children can also take them out and look through them.

As the children get older, we let them decide some of the things that go in them. Sometimes we will tell them something has to go in. Other times we let them decide. For example, if we are doing self portraits we will most likely tell them that this has to go into their binder; but they are also given the option to do more than one so they can pick one to go in the book and the others can go home or be displayed. As they get older and more familiar with the binders, they will actually say, "Miss Jenni, I am made this picture of my favorite animal. I want it to go in my book." They now become participants in documenting their growth and development.

Now, on the back of the pages (not the front) I make sure to mark the date. I will also write any pertinent information: quotes that they said, indicators that it represents, other notes.

Now, when it is time to complete the assessments, Take out the binder!!! This is the best part. Go through the binder and, if you have collected enough evidence, you will have everything you need to determine where they fall in all areas of development. Can they count to 10? You probably have a written observation about him sitting at the table, grouping animals at the zoo, and telling you he has 12 elephants, 5 hippos, and 15 giraffes. Yep! He can count to 10! Can she write her name? Well, on the last 3 pieces of art work she has requested to put into the binder she has written the first 3 letters of her name consistently. So, she's getting closer. She also requested that these things get put into her binder, so she is obviously proud of her accomplishments (see how one item can meet several developmental areas?).

Collecting evidence is where it all starts. Making assessments easier to complete is the next step. Next, we are going to look at how we take these assessments and turn them into curriculum.

How do you collect and store observations and evidence?

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