How to use Google Forms to create anecdotal notes & records

Using Google Forms for an easy anecdotal notes template

anecdotal notes template

Do you take anecdotal notes in your classroom? This phrase used to absolutely terrify me. My administration would constantly be telling us to take anecdotal notes for every subject and behavior... but I was stumped how to do this. How was I supposed to teach, manage a classroom, plan a lesson, juggle 28 children... while taking notes?

Every evaluation, referral, or parent question, they want to see them. I found anecdotal notes tedious, and honestly I hate writing by hand. My handwriting is terrible, and I dislike looking at my beautiful teacher planners covered in ugly handwriting (yes, I am aware of how shallow this is). Google Forms has made my anecdotal note-taking SO. MUCH. EASIER.

What is the anecdotal records definition?

An anecdotal record is a short, on-the-spot description of a student's behavior or academic achievement. It does not include a teacher's opinions - it is simply an observation of what is happening with a student at that exact moment.

Why take anecdotal records of students?

I originally started taking anecdotal records because it was the one area on my yearly teacher evaluation that my assistant principal seemed to harp on. At first I was irritated. If I was doing a great job teaching and she liked my classroom management/communication/lesson plans... why did it matter that I wasn't writing notes? 

However, after I started taking anecdotal records I started seeing the value of it. I always had the mindset "I will remember if Sally was struggling in guided reading yesterday, I don't need to write it down." But you know what? Once I started writing it down, it made me a better teacher. I didn't remember specifics about something that happened yesterday, or last week in a subject. Having the notes truly let me tailor guided reading lessons to students. It was even better for behaviors and taking notes for child study and IEPs. Having a long list of documented behaviors is absolutely essential for so many IEP meetings.

How do I take anecdotal records?

Because anecdotal records are on-the-spot, you need a way to quickly record them without taking away your teaching time. Easier said than done, right? We are teachers, we barely have enough time in a day. If we are taking observations... how on Earth can we be teaching?! This is the issue I have always had when my administration would come down on us that we needed to be taking more anecdotal records. I did not know how I could take quality notes while giving my students the education that they deserve.

Enter Google Forms. I initially got the idea after seeing a fourth-grade teacher in my hallway using an Excel Spreadsheet for her notes. I loved the efficiency of her spreadsheet, yet it seemed like a lot of work to continually have to insert a new row and type in the date each time. I realized that I could easily use Google Forms to make my notes instead.

Simply bookmark the Google Form that you create on your computer, and have it up when you are in small groups. As you work with students, you can quickly jot down information into your form in a mere matter of seconds, push submit, and have all your information automatically saved in your computer (AND it automatically puts the date and time in there!). 

Would you like to create anecdotal notes using Google Forms on your own? Follow my step-by-step directions below!

Create your Google Forms to set up your anecdotal notes template

Step 1

First, I created a new form on Google Forms. I did not insert a part for the date, because Google Forms automatically date-stamps everything- even the exact time that the note is written! How easy is that?!? I included name, note, and a multiple choice selection for Math, Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Science, and Behavior.

Step 2

Push "Send," email to yourself, then bookmark this page!!!!! You can quickly click on it when you are doing small groups in math or language arts, or when you notice good or poor behavior suddenly pop up.

Step 3

Look at the results! Click on "Responses" on the form, then click the little green box with the white cross on it to look at your results in a spreadsheet.

Step 4

Spreadsheet and data fun time! Now, I created a fake Google Form, not using my real one on the blog for privacy reason. What's great about the spreadsheet is that you can sort by date, name, or subject (looking at all the math, writing, reading, or behavior goals together!). You can look by kid to see trends over time.

My anecdotal records have gone from zero to sixty instantly. I am enthralled about using these records this year to document and witness student behavior trends!

Resources available in post available at Glitter in Third on TPT

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Do you feel overwhelmed by anecdotal notes? I did, until I realized how much easier and more efficient that Google Forms makes taking these records on students for guided reading, math, writing, and behavior. Not only is it more efficient, but Google Forms is free! This is about to make your life SO. MUCH. EASIER. (at least it did for me :-) )

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